Recently I was searching for the soundtrack to Disney’s Alice in Wonderland animation, when the iTunes Music Store introduced me to The Sound of Style, a greatest hits album of the music of Bob Thompson.
I didn’t know that “space age bachelor pad music” was an actual genre, and not just the name of a Stereolab album. Most of the tunes in The Sound of Style are working under the retro-futuristic concept of the human voice—a chorus of them, actually—as a jazz instrument, trilling nonsense syllables and mingling with saxophones. It’s kind of reminiscent of the theme to the original Star Trek series or old commercial jingles (Thomspson did the music for tons of them mid-century, and there are a few included on this album as well), but listen a bit and you’ll find that the arrangements are sophisticated enough to have a not-so-novelty place in your music library. It’s what I imagine 1950s hipsters were listening to, while they sipped burbon and played canasta in their carpeted dining rooms.
The Sound of Style appears to be only available through iTunes, but there are other albums by Bob Thompson at Amazon, including The Sound of Speed, a collection of transportation-themed orchestral music (minus the fantastic vocals).