The deep green color block cover ties it to a long tradition of library music, but Tea with Holger, from London duo Smith and Mudd, isn’t a vintage title from the KPM catalog. Mixing electronic and organic instruments, this pleasing mini-album comes from a new initiative that brings the storied company primarily associated with the ‘60s and ‘70s into the 21st century. It’s a welcome addition to your library music program, pleasant background, if not especially rich foreground.

The legendary library music label KPM has provided production music for radio and films since 1959, and you’ve probably heard their work-for-hire even if you can’t name it. The 1974 recording “Heavy Action,” for instance, is better known as the long-time theme for “Monday Night Football.” While the label’s heyday was decades ago, library music continues to be a thriving industry and a source for freelance composers and session musicians to flex their chops. Tea with Holger is part of KPM’s series of digital album shorts, and Be With Records has issued its vinyl counterpart, which will file nicely with your old KPM records.

It’s fitting that a pair of so-called “downtempo alchemists” would ply their wares in this venerable subgenre. Benjamin Smith and Paul ”Mudd” Murphy have recorded together since 2007, and the title of their latest connects the threads of instrumental background music to prog; Holger, of course, refers to Can’s Holger Czukay, with whom the duo spent some studio time.

The 27-minute record begins with “Gardner,” its melodic pulse kept with acoustic piano chords and a gentle, lightly electric guitar figure that grows layers as the track continues. Wordless vocals add a swooning texture, and the overall effect is something like what might happen if Popol Vuh made library music. As library music records once included evocative descriptions to aid producers looking for a certain mood, APM, which now administers the KPM catalog, includes a handy key to the album, though on their site this track is called “The Gardener.” As the company describes it, this is an “immersive dreamscape with bright piano, distant tom drums, atmospheric synth fx, resonant bass, light percussion, layers of delayed electric guitar picks, sparkling chimes and ethereal male vocals.” Which pretty much breaks down any element you might be concerned about.

The central and longest track here is the nearly seven-minute “Away from Me,” which starts more percussive and abstract before taking on a lush string section. APM describes it concisely as “entrancing left-field ambience,” though it’s not all that left-field. “Kölner Street” is labelled “laid-back folk psychedelia,” which is accurate enough, but its relaxed acoustic-guitar melody may be the most charming hook on the album. The title track, which one might think would be more left-field given is inspiration, lives up to its billing as “warm, alternative folk ambience.” As versatile as any revered KPM title from Keith Mansfield and Alan Hawkshaw, if not so swingin’ ‘60s London in feel, anything from Tea with Holger would be an effective, contemplative music cue for an indie drama, and that’s all one need ask from library music in its current form.

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