Orchestra Peter Thomas – Orion 2000 (Omni)

Peter Thomas is a legendary film composer, known in some circles as Germany’s answer to John Barry, thanks to his desire to fuse go-go music with brooding noir horns in scores like the long running sci fi television series Rampatrouille. Yet he also scored the pretty adventurous Chariots of the Gods and Bruce Lee’s The Big Boss, in a career that spanned 50 odd years. He was incredibly versatile melding electronic and studio effects with brass, disco, strings, jazz, you name it.

Recorded in 1970, this is the lost Peter Thomas album, released in miniscule amounts on an obscure library music label in 1975. Some of the tunes would eventually find their way into future TV soundtracks of the period and even some of his profile scores such as The Big Boss. This album however was Thomas’ attempt to return to the space theme of Rampatrouille with bigger brass and a chugging rock beat and it really stands up in its entirety. With wah wah guitar and melodic at times stabbing horns, it possesses that ultra funky Lalo Schirffin 70’s cop show vibe, however Thomas also uses these incredible flanges and studio effects to create his own ‘out there’ space vibe.

The playing is of course incredible, yet it’s no surprise as his orchestra was made up of amongst others, Siegfried Schwab co composer of the overwhelming score for Jess Franco’s Vampyros Lesbos (as well as a bunch of other Franco films), Olaf Kubler who produced most of komische act Amon Duull II’s albums, and possibly even Euro disco legend Giorgio Moroder on Moog.

Whilst it’s great to unearth obscure or lost albums by renowned artists of yesteryear, more often than not they’re obscure for a reason. Orion 2000 is the exception, Peter Thomas was an incredible and highly creative composer and these tunes only enhance his reputation. It feels dated, wedded to the period in which it was made; yet that only enhances the enjoyment and feeling of discovery. They don’t make music like this anymore. But they should.

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