Alain Goraguer, Underground Rap’s Source Code, Dead at 91
French jazz musician, Alain Goraguer, who composed the soundtrack for 1973 animated film, Fantastic Planet, has died at 91.
French jazz pianist and composer, Alain Goraguer, died on February 13 at 91 years old.
Born Alain Yves Réginald Goraguer on August 20, 1931 in Rosny-sous-Bois, France and raised in Nice, Goraguer became a skilled pianist, abandoning violin lessons at an early age. At twenty, the musician had a life-changing encounter with pianist Jack Diéva, who advised him to further pursue a career in music.
Goraguer relocated to Paris in adulthood, where he delved further into his passion for jazz music. In the 1950s, he met French writer, poet and musician Boris Vian, collaborating with him on music, notably for 1953 film J’irai cracher sur vos tombres (I Spit on Your Grave). Goraguer continued arranging for the likes of Serge Gainsbourg, including their 1963 collaboration “Poupée de cire, poupée de son” for French singer, France Gall, which won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1956. In the same year, Goraguer released his only album as a jazz musician, Go Go Goraguer.
Perhaps the most famous work in Goraguer’s catalog is his score for La Planete Sauvage or Fantastic Planet. Based on the animated film directed by René Laloux, the 1973 score’s trippy soundscapes have been the source code for generations of underground rap, sampled extensively, by Madlib, who chopped the creeky electric keys of Fantastic Planet on his first Quasimoto album, The Unseen. Fantastic Planet song “Le Bracelet” was also sampled by producer V.I.C. on “Boomerang” from Big Pun‘s only solo album, Capital Punishment, by Showbiz on KRS-One‘s “Knowledge Reigns Supreme,” and by the late J Dilla on a handful of beat tape gems.
More recently, you can hear Goraguer’s psychedelia in Flying Lotus and Denzel Curry‘s “Black Balloons Reprise,” Mac Miller‘s “Insomniak,” and Run The Jewels‘ “Everybody Stay Calm,” and Little Simz‘s “Starry Eyed.”
Hear Alain Goraguer’s Fantastic Planet score in full below. Watch the film today via HBOMax.
Check out more tributes below.
Rest easy forever our French legend Alain Goraguer… pic.twitter.com/FXhs0rc3Uk
— Grown Ass Folks Melodies (@GrownAssFM) February 14, 2023
RIP Alain Goraguer, who gave us the psychedelic jazz score for ‘La Planète Sauvage’ (‘Fantastic Planet’). pic.twitter.com/bftsfXB1i1
— Jake (@JakeChatty) February 15, 2023
Merci, Alain Goraguer ✨ pic.twitter.com/RE4XBubYXr
— aural medium (@linusbooth) February 15, 2023
RIP ALAIN GORAGUER 😞 pic.twitter.com/uZrPuOIJDR
— Brainorchestra (@_brainorchestra) February 15, 2023
RIP Alain Goraguer who gave us otherworldly soundtracks for films like La Planète Sauvage (https://t.co/q7LiyxMaOC) and worked with Serge Gainsbourg on gems like France Gall's winning entry in the 1965 Eurovision Song Contest pic.twitter.com/nPW9aC9mUT
— Birmingham 81 (@Birmingham_81) February 15, 2023
Alain Goraguer (1931-2023)
Alain Goraguer en studio avec Serge Gainsbourg
(Stan Wiezniak, Paris, 1961) pic.twitter.com/xifYfS73Wk
— David Mennessier (@RupertPupkin__) February 14, 2023
Sans lui, Gainsbourg serait peut-être resté un pianiste de cabaret qu’on passe et qu’on ne regarde pas. Des dizaines d’autres aussi, et la Planète sauvage aurait été moins chic. Alain Goraguer, le père de l’arrangement moderne français disparaît à l’âge vénérable de 91 ans. pic.twitter.com/qqYWGrlX5s
— Christophe Conte (@christopheconte) February 14, 2023