“Straight into the heart of the future!” boasts the narration for the latest LP re-issue of Man In Space With Sounds from Attilio “Art” Mineo, on the opening track “Welcome To Tomorrow”. Now back on vinyl, it’s probably the most famous and collectible theme park soundtrack.
The 12 tracks here were originally written as library music in the 1950s, mainly to show off early electronic effects, and to be released as part of the then-popular atomic age lounge scene. In 1962, they were collected together again, and paired with suitable bombastic narration to be used in the Seattle World’s Fair. The album was sold at the fair either with or without the narration, and then disappeared, eventually becoming extremely collectible. “Re-discovered” in the 90s lounge revival, various re-issues and revivals have followed, and now it is on coloured vinyl to be played in your space-age hipster pad as you relax with a cocktail in your molded plastic chair. Two versions were originally available, either with or without the narration, and this re-issue includes it.
Highlights of the album include the proto-techno minimal beats coming through the strings on “Soaring Science“, and the frenetic “piano being attacked by buzz-saw” sounds of “Mile-A-Minute Monorail“, an ode to the transport system still carrying people to the Seattle Space Needle today. Each track on the record features a suggested soundtrack to a different area of the fair, and pushes the themes of scientific advancement, space exploration, and technology, while the narration lets you know where you are. It’s the ultimate soundtrack to the gleaming future we only see now in old science fiction movies.
So – listen to yesterday’s future today! Even better, this album is part of a wider “Winter In Space” series of space age re-issues on the Modern Harmonic label, including some from Sun Ra.