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Back in 1971 two members of Abba soundtracked a low-budget porn sequel entitled The Seduction of Inga

The experimental porn soundtracks you need to hear

We look at the sounds that helped to lend adult film its mood – from Abba and The Knife to haunting piano ballads and sprawling electronica

Let’s be real: when we watch porn, we’re probably not too focused on the soundtrack. Pornography has long been discredited by the mainstream media and swept under the carpet by government censors, resulting in the implication that porn flicks are just 60 minutes of hardcore banging with a clichéd ‘wah-wah’ soundtrack. This isn’t always the case; especially not recently, as young artists are getting seriously avant-garde with their porn compositions.

It was just over a week ago that we spotlighted art student Vex Ashley and her experimental erotica. Then, only a few days later, it was announced that The Knife are one of the acts contributing songs to a porn documentary called When We Are Together We Can Be Everywhere. The importance of the Scandinavian duo’s involvement cannot be discounted as they are renowned for being extremely selective in their work. The inclusion of one of the electronic scene’s biggest names demonstrates that there’s a new credibility to the porn industry.

In fact, more and more artists are beginning to recognise pornography as legitimate artistic impression, reshaping its clichés to challenge the way society sees sex. No longer are porn soundtracks based on slow jams and cheesy funk; in fact, the ‘bom chicka wow wow’ that immediately springs to mind is an outdated relic from 70s porn, the influence of which still lingers. In honour of the When We Are Together We Can Be Everywhere soundtrack, we delved into the archives of classic porn to unearth five of the industry’s most impressive soundtracks. From sprawling, nuanced electronica to haunting piano ballads (and even an unlikely entry from Abba), these are the sounds that helped to progress pornography.

UNKNOWN — DEEP THROAT

It’s impossible to write about porn soundtracks without talking about Deep Throat. Released in 1972 and starring Linda Lovelace, the film was one of the first skin flicks to ever include a plot and character development and even coined its own genre: ‘porno chic’. The soundtrack was equally progressive; featuring various nods to psych rock, Latin ballroom, and funk, the original eight tracks were released officially as a standalone soundtrack. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the US government seized the film reels and master tapes for the original Deep Throat in the early 1970s, making the soundtrack a bona fide cult gem when it was reissued in 2004 without any production credits. From the surrounding controversy to the unconventional soundtrack, it’s safe to say that Deep Throat is one of the most iconic pornos of all time.

KLAUS SCHULZE – BODY LOVE

Upon first listen, the shimmering synths of pioneering German electronic musician Klaus Schulze’s Body Love could easily be mistaken for a sci-fi soundtrack. However, the four-track album actually accompanies a film of the same name, based around the story of a young virgin who's told that she will be losing her virginity at an orgy. Unfolding over 50 minutes, the album’s sprawling soundscape unfolds slowly as choir arrangements and rhythmic drums drift in and out of the synth-led backdrop. The experimental tracks weren’t out of character for Schulze, renowned for his unique brand of ambient electronica which introduced organic percussion and found noises to break up the sonic background. However, they were out of character for the porn industry and, therefore, make this one of the industry’s most notable soundtracks.

ABBA — THE SEDUCTION OF INGA

The most unlikely inclusion on this list comes courtesy of Björn and Benny, two members of Swedish supergroup Abba. Back in 1971 the duo soundtracked a low-budget porn sequel entitled The Seduction of Inga, resulting in one of porn’s most laid-back scores ever. The opening track is arguably the catchiest, “Inga’s Theme”; a fusion of melodic repetition, folksy guitars, and a few tambourines. As for the film itself, the seriously bizarre plot features references to lesbianism, torture, and even incest — a far cry from the sequined flares and drunken karaoke more often attributed to Abba. But “Inga’s Theme” still stands as a brilliantly leftfield porn soundtrack, eschewing musical clichés and creating one of the strangest moments in the group’s history.

PATRICK COWLEY — SCHOOL DAZE/MUSCLE UP

Patrick Cowley is the producer who helped popularise the hi-NRG sound, as well as being involved with a string of disco classics from artists like Sylvester and Paul Parker. Therefore, Cowley may seem an unconventional choice to soundtrack a porn film. However, decades after his death, record label Dark Entries dug up and subsequently released a series of atmospheric, synth-laden scores by Cowley which were used as gay porn soundtracks in the 1970s. The two compilation albums, School Daze and Muscle Up, represent a string of the porn industry’s most experimental soundscapes. There are none of the cliché funk references that characterised 70s erotica; instead, Cowley created sprawling, pulsing electronica that throbbed gently alongside the bodies on screen.

ALDEN SHUMAN — THE DEVIL IN MISS JONES OST

Considering its controversial tagline, “If you’re going to go to hell… go for a reason”, it’s obvious that The Devil in Miss Jones sidestepped the traditional conventions of pornography. Based around the story of a spinster given only a week to indulge her every sexual fantasy before being condemned to hell, the story is accompanied by a soaring soundtrack scored by composer Alden Shuman. A combination of eerie organs, orchestral strings, and powerful vocals, the soundtrack later received its own standalone release — a rarity in the porn industry. Arguably the strongest of the 11 tracks is ‘Coming Home’, a haunting ballad whose female protagonist begs for “one sweet, gentle soul” as a piano instrumental swells alongside her vocals. This might not be the best film to masturbate to (references to Satan can be a real mood-killer), but it does stand tall as one of the most artistic, experimental porno flicks of all time.