Put down those highball glasses: Not everything in the Space Age bachelor pad was intended for the Space Age bachelor party. In fact, the three beautiful-music LPs collected on Waves of Ether: The Magical World of the Theremin were all fairly serious affairs, more concerned with showing off the titular noisemaker’s potential as a real instrument than in engaging in whiz-bang theatrics. Music Out of the Moon, from 1947, promised outer-space-inspired “MUSIC UNUSUAL” on its cover, and though that may have seemed true at the time, today most of the tracks sound like the Star Trek closing credits slowed to half-speed. Choirs whooo and ahhh with alarming gusto, arranger Les Baxter strums his piano as if it were a harp, and once in a while theremin-toting podiatrist Samuel J. Hoffman enters to double the choral lines. The following year’s Perfume Set to Music is represented by six tracks named for various scents manufactured by the Corday company, which sponsored the album. A perfume-history Web site indicates that the opener, “Toujours Moi,” was an oriental scent; nonetheless, composer Harry Revel’s muse apparently required something more suited to capering across Central Park in a Blake Edwards farce. If the theremin were as remotely loud as those choristers, these pieces might transcend the album’s wacky provenance. But alas, by the time Baxter spritzes a little “L’Ardent Nuit” in the air, fatigue descends. Two years passed before the trio reunited for Music for Peace of Mind, and by then Baxter was playing the kind of rhythmic piano lines that would soon be a trademark in his “exotica” work with Martin Denny. The titles are worth noting: “This Room Is My Castle of Quiet,” “Remembering Your Lips,” and “I Dream of a Past Love” seem to indicate that Revel was experiencing some trouble in the boudoir. Perhaps taking advantage of his colleague’s funk, Baxter amped up Hoffman’s theremin and sacked most of the chorus for the collection’s most satisfying tracks, all of which lilt along just beautifully. Still, like the rest of this disc, they’re a lot more fun to talk about than to listen to. —Andrew Beaujon