The Italian Golden Age: Sonor Music Editions' Library Records from the 60s to 80sThe Italian Golden Age: Sonor Music Editions' Library Records from the 60s to 80s


The Italian Golden Age: Sonor Music Editions' Library Records from the 60s to 80s

When producers like Madlib, Just Blaze, DJ Premier, and Harry Fraud all dig into a label's archives, you know that label is onto something… For over a decade, Sonor Music Editions out of Rome, Italy, has been preserving and unearthing original, archival library music from the 60s well into the 80s. Tracklib now offers hundreds of recordings in jazz-funk, Italian soundtracks, dramatic themes, and avant-garde compositions from Italy’s golden era.


Danny Veekens


January 19, 2023

Does the following quote by composer and producer Adrian Younge from a New York Times article resonate with you, looking at the catalog of Sonor Music Editions?

"[Italian library music] was like classically trained musicians asked to make modern Black music, but for Europe, so you would have these crazy orchestrations, but it’ll still be funky. (...) They could just do the craziest sh*t and wouldn’t have to deal with somebody saying, 'It’s not pop enough.'" - Adrian Younge

Lorenzo Fabrizi: "I completely agree with Adrian Younge. That liberty of sound exploration is one of the things that made Italian library and soundtrack music so attractive. Just think about the greatest Italian composers like Ennio Morricone, Armando Trovajoli, and Piero Piccioni, making the music for the great Italian arthouse cinema and at the same time composing the music for the low-budget b-movies, poliziesco, and erotic softcore movies.

These artists had the possibility to engage with so many different TV productions, and experiment and create the sound they wanted. Extraordinary musicians like Sandro Brugnolini or Cicci Santucci from the Italian Jazz scene became incredibly skilled in the use of electronic instruments and equipment. The continuous request for music to synchronize left them the possibility to literally write ‘a world of music.’

Also check out the avant-garde/experimental album by Franco Goldani from the early 70s, for example. It’s a stunning piece of 'dramatic' music that can be sampled in countless ways, or the mind-blowing hip-hop-like tunes played and arranged by I Marc 4 in the 1970s, like the killer grooves of 'Trama Nella Metropoli' and 'Ray Ban.'"

lorenzo fabrizi sonor music editions reel to reel tape

"We both dig and search for these rare and original Italian library recordings. So we combined the passion we have as ‘researchers’ with great opportunities to find, acquire, and work with obscure and unknown music."

—Lorenzo Fabrizi (co-founder of Sonor Music Editions, pictured above)

Where do you think that experimentalism in Italian library music originates from? As that seems evidently more present and distinctive than in, say, UK library music.

LF: "I think that experimentalism is the real benchmark of Italian library music creativity, in general. Writing this music on commission, the Italian composers had so much liberty and fun in composing background music. They were free to experiment with sounds and to get inspiration from the musical trends that were going on at the time.

The combination of these two elements is what made Italian library music so special and highly regarded in the world. Our heritage derives from this touch of genius: to experiment and create unusual and killer sounds that could work on images. Italian composers have been pure avant-gardists in adding music to films and television."

goblin suspiria italian soundtrack

In a recent article by The Guardian, you say the release of Ennio Morricone’s I Due Evasi Di Sing Sing (Two Escape from Sing Sing) is "one of the high points" for Sonor. Can you name any of Sonor’s records on Tracklib you consider to be high points as well, and why?

LF: "Having the opportunity of managing and administering I Marc 4’s music means a lot to us, too. All the library music collectors and fans that I know grew up listening to I Marc 4, and their songs are just legendary. Their music has been synchronized in films and it has been sampled numerous times, such as by Just Blaze."

The story also highlights finding an eight-track cartridge at a flea market, and the two-year quest to trace down the rightsholders. Are there any memories or anecdotal stories related to that—in the words of that article—"detective job"?

Andrea Galtieri (co-founder of Sonor Music Editions): "Finding the tape was a stroke of luck! I had already found Paolo Ormi’s P.O.X. Sound Vol. 2 about twenty years ago. The songs were very similar to an RCA single ("Cocco Secco" b/w "No No No") and the session had to be the same. I searched for it for years and years with no great results, until a seller put the tape up for sale. Nobody knew him—I was sure of it and it was an epic moment! I took it to Rome for the analog transfer. Together with Lorenzo we immediately realized that it was necessary to make the music known. That was so beautiful."

Lorenzo Fabrizi: "We have been doing this 'detective job' for about ten years since we started Sonor Music Editions. We both dig and search for these rare and original Italian library recordings, so we combined the passion we have as ‘researchers’ with great opportunities to find, acquire, and work with obscure and unknown music."

sonor music editions samples archives italian

Last year, producer Oh No released OFFAIR: Dr. No’s Lost Beach, almost entirely based on Sonor Music Editions samples. What’s it like for you to hear the originals in such a completely new context?

LF: "It’s insane! Oh No is an incredible and talented artist, We couldn’t believe our ears when we listened to the beats for the first time. We were stunned about the album— which is also going to be released on vinyl very soon, by the way."

Lastly, to quote Adrian Younge one more time: do you see Sonor Music Editions as part of that ‘full circle’ through sampling?

“Unapologetically Black music came into the forefront for cinema in the late 50s through the early 70s; European composers, Italian composers took this sound and synthesized it with their classical teachings (...) That created a palette of music that inspired hip-hop producers generations later that were trying to find the coolest samples. It became a treasure trove for many of us.”

LF: "When we started our activity with Sonor in 2013 there were few labels actively spreading Italian library and soundtrack music. So we like to think that we have actively contributed to that in the past years through the vinyl releases and now with this new, exciting adventure together with Tracklib."

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