Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr Library music companies like Bruton and De Wolfe once peddled their wares to film and television companies who could use their sounds as background music without having to pay hefty rights fees to big name talent. Also known as production music, these recordings were meant to be purely utilitarian. But removed from their original purpose, these recordings have found new generations of fans. Thanks to break-obsessed DJs and books like Jonny Trunk’s The Music Library (itself a pricey collectable) that pictured the vivid covers of vintage library music albums, the genre has become increasingly attractive to crate diggers—and now, reissue labels like Fifth Dimension. Among the records Trunk documented was Jungle Obsession by French library music vets Nino Nardini (born Georges Achille Teperino) and Roger Roger (his real name). The album cover featured an illustration of a tiger, the visual gateway to a variation on the percussion-heavy exotica made famous by Martin Denny and other acts in the ‘50s. But Jungle Obsession comes from 1971, by which time exotica was long passé. It starts with some cowbell. The album launches with a title track whose beat suggests “Slow Rider,” with a flatulent synth note sprinkled in the sound of percussive jungle kitsch. But the track’s star is a psychedelic guitar that grows increasingly free-form, generating a frenzy of wah-wah and percussion that would certainly upset the serene atmosphere of the humid jungle. The tranquil “Murmuring Leaves” is more like vintage exotica, its sweeping, gentle theme untouched by fuzz-tone guitars, an electric bass line the sole nod to its era. Though coming from a genre intended as mere background, the music of Nardini and Roger sounds great cranked up, all the better to hear the stereo space, a lightly funky rhythm section holding down the center while percussion comes in and out of the left and right channels. Psychedelic notes come back on “Mowgli,” which comes off like the tropical fruit of an exotic jam session. If the jungle is the musician’s primary obsession, it’s not a naturalistic jungle, but the strange, imaginary paradise of Rousseau. Which makes you wonder: In 1971, how much of a market could there have been for this kind of kitsch? As the album progresses, however, it gains psychedelic traction, and its spiky percussion and seductive rhythms become the soundtrack for a far-flung spy movie, set in, say, “Malaysia.” The vocal whoops in the frenetic “Jungle Spell” signal that the album has no intention of leaving the jungle. Its electric guitar riff is a variation on a surf instrumental, riding not ocean waves but a lush tree line. The two-minute vignette “The White Snake” is the album’s most psychedelic, revolving around a phased-out guitar solo emerging from the rainforest percussion. Jungle Obsession is no lost masterpiece. But if you can’t afford a $500 original pressing, thanks to Fifth Dimension, you can pick up a reasonably priced vinyl or CD version of this mildly enchanting diversion. Perhaps the title is a slight misnomer; it could more accurately be called, You’ll Enjoy the Jungle Just Fine.