Saturday, March 24, 2007

Lightworks


Raymond Scott composed an electronic commercial jingle for Lightworks cosmetics in the 1960s. Vocal and instrumental versions are featured on the two-CD set Manhattan Research, Inc. (MRI). The Lightworks line was produced by Helena Rubinstein, and included blush, eye shadow, lipstick, and lotions.

The Nashville-based trio Venus Hum recorded a note-perfect cover in 2003. You can download a free mp3 here.

There is some uncertainty about the origins of the Scott jingle. Untitled instrumental versions were discovered by MRI researchers/producers Gert-Jan Blom and Jeff Winner on an analog tape reel dated "1960-63." They also discovered, on another reel, an undated "Lightworks" vocal version. At the time, the singer was presumed (by me) to be Scott's then-wife Dorothy Collins, and was so noted in MRI's liner notes. However, RS and DC's daughter Deb later said the voice was not her mother's.

The Lightworks product line launched around 1967. Winner speculates that Scott adapted an early 1960s instrumental recording for the jingle.

"Some Scott commercials from this period were edited from raw, longer, sometimes rambling 'work-tapes' he'd made years before," Winner recently explained. "It's likely he composed and recorded these 'Lightworks' prototype instrumentals—including versions at different tempos—in the 1960-'63 period. Assuming he got the cosmetics gig later, he may have reached back for inspiration from himself. 'Lightworks' isn't unique in this sense. We included several other examples of this derivative process on the MRI cds. Scott often recycled material. All artists do."

The identity of the vocalist remains a mystery.

7 comments:

  1. it should be noted that the "lightworks" track was used in the 2000s by the seminal hip-hop producer j.dilla before he passed away. he was known for his obscure musical references & musicality. the "beat" was later used by numerous underground MC's, most notably by MF DOOM on his 2009 album "born like this", the song simply titled "lightworks". there exists a track somewhere including busta rhymes & q-tip rapping over said j.dilla beat as well. sorry for the rambling blurb, i have nothing but love for Mr. Scott & the artists who were inspired by him.

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  2. Transit Kings also sampled the intro for the chorus of Concourse. (Not 100% it is a sample though, it could possibly be a very faithful reproduction.)

    Spotify link: http://j.mp/cyudaW

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  3. The version with BustaRhymes and Q-Tip is on a free mixtape that BustaRhymes put out on the internet called "Dillagence". Contains many tracks Busta archived from his work with J-Dilla. - Joeski (SubCollec)

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  4. @Magnus: It's a close reproduction. TKs copped the words and melody but didn't sample the RS recording.

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  5. Who knows how this might fit in?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobb_Goldsteinn#.22Lightworks.22_and_Multimedia

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  6. Could the vocalist been Esther Nelson?

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  7. Nelson never worked with RS. Neither did Bruce Haack.

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