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Most irritating Exotica album and song
I, Zombie
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Joined: Jul 14, 2003
Posts: 539
From: the Les Baxter Grotto (Minneapolis)
Posted: 2007-03-15 06:38 am   Permalink

Demon I love that story -- esp. the guy guarding the turntable all night. I think I've BEEN that guy at a few parties over the years!

I'm gonna have to keep an eye out for that box set at the local thrifts. Seems like the kinda thing that'll show up there.

~glen


 
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DJ Terence Gunn
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Joined: Jun 20, 2005
Posts: 250
Posted: 2007-03-15 07:41 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-03-13 16:57, I, Zombie wrote:
Magne's Tropical Fantasy may be one of the top Exotica lPs of all time. And I say this for the very reasons you don't care for it -- high pitched bird whistles, screeches, bells, xylophones, cartoon-quality tympanis, unharmonic and possibly even drunk females yelling -- yeah, it's "difficult listening-hour" aspects are what make it great! Think of the intensity of his version of Tabu. The percussion and xylophones really conjure up the bones of skeletons, almost marching skeletons, crossing a windswept, moonlight plain. The combo of the spooky voices and instruments really push the melody up your spine, and that weird juxtaposition between Haitian Zombie attack and middle-eastern harem-scarem is beautiful. The bongos seem to be the only thing holding the whole thing together. All the best exotica has a scary and/or madness side. Baxter definitely understood this. Magne really takes it up a frightening notch (on Tabu for sure, as well as Sahara, Bahia, Congo Biem, and to a lesser extent Tropical and Peanut Vendor).
~glen
[ This Message was edited by: I, Zombie 2007-03-13 17:40 ]



Thank you for your input, Glen!

However, on this subject, I've met more folks who dislike Magne's album than do. And what most folks don't know is that Magne's 'Tropical Fantasy' (and 'Orienta') was meant to be farcical and a mockery, cashing in on the Exotica trend, like many of the other composers who wished to, or were commissioned to (which was largely the case in most of the one or two-off Exotica records), put out an album of Exotic Jazz or the like. The instrumental components and many Exotica cliches are present, but there's no heart and soul in it. This album sounds like a joke and it is a joke. Magne didn't understand the music he was tackling, nor did he probably care. He was paid to put out an Exotica album. And there are far, far better Exotica albums of the copy-cat nature, that do have some heart and soul in them. For example.....

'Exotica' by Ted Auletta -- full of the usual Martin Denny cliches but still a wonderful album and one of the best versions/arrangements of 'Quiet Village' I've heard.

'Exotic Island' by The Surfmen -- a piece of audio heaven in my top 5 Exotica album picks, up there with Frank Hunter's 'White Goddess' and Don Ralke's 'The Savage & The Sensuous Bongos'.

Now granted these two examples of Exotica are perhaps not as daring as Magne's 'Tropical Fantasy' (particularly Auletta's), but they are nevetheless soothing and exotic and atmospheric.

There's certainly a humouress and campy side to 'Tropical Fantasy', but it is far from mad and scary. And to say the best Exotica albums are mad and scary is simply your opinion, not a mood pre-requisite for guaging the quality and genuine-ness of an Exotica album; especially when a great deal of the original Exotica music by Baxter (or one could even say Maurice Ravel) is soothing, lush, romantic, mysterious, and...well, exotic. 'Tropical Fantasy' is closer in spirit to Carl Stalling and Spike Jones than it is to Les Baxter and Martin Denny; and if it deserves to belong in any musical category, 'Incredibly Strange Music' is the most appropriate category.

I haven't heard Magne's other album 'Orienta - An Exotic Adventure In Sound'. But should it be anything like 'Tropical Fantasy', I will avoid it like I would a disease-carrying tsetse fly.

In any case, Glen, do you not have a pick for most irritating Exotica album and/or song that you'd like to share with us?




 
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I, Zombie
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Joined: Jul 14, 2003
Posts: 539
From: the Les Baxter Grotto (Minneapolis)
Posted: 2007-03-15 09:12 am   Permalink

Hi DJ,

I hadn't heard that Magne's LP was meant as a joke -- though I'm not sure if the intent of an artist means that much, especially as the years roll on, and the context in which things are heard has changed so radically. But I'm probably in the minority on that opinion. (Ex: when I found out Martin Denny "ghosted" many of his LPs, it didn't really effect how I felt about his music -- even the albums he actually didn't do.)

I'll give you that Magne belongs in the "incredibly strange" category. Here's the description from spaceagepop.com that backs you up completely:

"What makes Tropical Fantasy fun is the way Magne manages to cram together into one album virtually all there is to love about space age pop music. Sound effects? Got 'em. Musique concrete? Got yer car horns and machine noises here. Tape manipulation? Backwards, forwards, speeded up, and slowed down. Bird calls and jungle shrieks? Well, it's not Augie Colon, but it's a close second. Percussion up the ying-yang? Yup--bongos, maracas, cowbells, marimbas, ratchets, bells, chimes, etc. Oddball instrumentation? Lessee--ocarina, pennywhistles, carillon, tin cans--check. All jammed into one LP recorded on two-track tape. Magnifique, Michel!"

But I still also find it to be exotica. Though I'll concede that after reading your response, I feel like I'm on shakier ground than I was before!!! (But then again, if it ain't exotica, how can it be the most irritating exotica LP?!? -- I think I'm confusing myself...)

I tend to like the creepier, foreboding tracks in the Exotica canon. Sometimes by creepy I probably should just say that I like the more "mysterious" tracks. But I also love exotica that has screeching and/or spooky voices and crazed instrumentation. So that's why I like Magne, regardless that it may have been written as a "joke." DJ what is your take on Stanley Black's Exotic Percussion or Johnny Richards The Rites of Diablo? I'd be curious of what you think of those albums.

I'm still struggling with your original question. Funny you mention Auletta. I almost was going to offer up his LP Exotica as worst in my original post, but I'm on the fence. It's very dull in spots but does it reach a level of irritation? I guess until I think of something else, I'm going to go with Auletta because of the dullness factor in many of the tracks.

Again thanks for this post. It's fun to talk about and debate this stuff.

~glen

p.s. NOW 3 years later I realize I was a fool. I really like Auletta... A LOT! His Pool of Love is sensational.

[ This Message was edited by: I, Zombie 2007-03-15 10:04 ]

[ This Message was edited by: I, Zombie 2010-05-25 14:22 ]


 
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Jeff Central
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Joined: Jul 23, 2002
Posts: 1611
From: Columbus, Ohio
Posted: 2007-03-15 1:35 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-03-11 15:31, DJ Terence Gunn wrote:

How about Dick Hyman's 'Voodoo' album? I've never heard that one.



Dick Hyman never released an album called "Voodoo" but Richard Hayman did. This album is not anywhere near as good as Robert Drasnin's "Voodoo" but still a nice Exotica album.

Cheers,
Jeff


 
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DJ Terence Gunn
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Joined: Jun 20, 2005
Posts: 250
Posted: 2007-03-15 2:10 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-03-15 09:12, I, Zombie wrote:
Hi DJ,

But I still also find it to be exotica. Though I'll concede that after reading your response, I feel like I'm on shakier ground than I was before!!! (But then again, if it ain't exotica, how can it be the most irritating exotica LP?!? -- I think I'm confusing myself...)

I tend to like the creepier, foreboding tracks in the Exotica canon. Sometimes by creepy I probably should just say that I like the more "mysterious" tracks. But I also love exotica that has screeching and/or spooky voices and crazed instrumentation. So that's why I like Magne, regardless that it may have been written as a "joke." DJ what is your take on Stanley Black's Exotic Percussion or Johnny Richards The Rites of Diablo? I'd be curious of what you think of those albums.

I'm still struggling with your original question. Funny you mention Auletta. I almost was going to offer up his LP Exotica as worst in my original post, but I'm on the fence. It's very dull in spots but does it reach a level of irritation? I guess until I think of something else, I'm going to go with Auletta because of the dullness factor in many of the tracks.

[ This Message was edited by: I, Zombie 2007-03-15 10:04 ]



Yes, 'Tropical Fantasy' -- despite the fact that some of the sound effects are not at all exotic -- is, indeed, Exotica. It could be nothing else (except Incredibly Strange Music); and it's more than obvious what the music is attempting to emulate.

I, too, like some of the creepier Exotica music (Denny's 'Jungle Madness' being one of the ultimate in this regard). But perhaps what I think of creepy is a bit different from you. For instance, the non-lyrical vocals in Exotica can be right on (Frank Hunter's 'White Goddess' and The Surfmen's 'Exotic Island' -- both featuring quite possibly the same female vocalist) or way off the mark, sounding too stiff, too Glee Club (I'm not even going to go there).

Stanley Black's 'Exotic Percussion' is for the most part very good. It isn't jungle jazz or exotic jazz, though. It almost verges on being a square easy listening orchestra experience, like Morton Gould's 'Jungle Drums', Alfred Newman's 'Ports Of Paradise' (and there ARE 3 songs off this album I think are fantastic, so don't think I'm slamming it entirely), Ray Conniff's Hawaiian album, or some syrupy selection served up by Frank Chacksfield. It seems from what you've indicated, Glen, that you have a preference towards the larger, orchestrated Exotica music. In this pool, Les Baxter and Alex Stordahl are plenty for me. Exotica to me should sound like a sound(e)scape, not a soundtrack. And I prefer mine with jazz elements, even if subtley included.

I am very curious about Johhny Richards' 'Rites Of Diablo', but have never heard it. However, knowing he did arrangements for Stan Kenton, I'm imagining this album to be totally bombastic. Still, I'm interested. Know where I can hear samples of it? I've looked online but to no avail. I'll probably have to resort to file sharing.

Auletta's album is everything but irritating, and doesn't qualify for such. In fact, it is quite the opposite; it's soothing. But, yes, Auletta's album is rather dull -- which is strange, as musically it isn't that far off from Arthur Lyman, but lacks the energy, spirit, and mood that Lyman's Exotica recordings have. Basically, it's too posed, and verging on cocktail jazz ala George Shearing (whom I love -- don't mistake me!), Frankie Carle, etc., rather than Exotica. Nevertheless it will find a higher spot within my ranking than Michel Magne's offering.


[ This Message was edited by: DJ Terence Gunn 2007-03-15 14:11 ]


 
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Cammo
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Joined: May 18, 2006
Posts: 1952
From: San Diego
Posted: 2007-03-15 3:35 pm   Permalink

When oh when will Tiki Central allow us to post MP3 files just like .jpegs??? Then we can simply post the song and put everyone through the pain of listening to it!

Sure, you can post off site, but why should we do that? And the link is always lost eventually.

I wanna hear that organ music! You could punish your kids with it -

"Go to your room and put on that ORGAN ALBUM!"

"NOOOOO! EEEaaaaahhhg!"

Slam. 'Wa wah wa waaaah....'


 
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I, Zombie
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Joined: Jul 14, 2003
Posts: 539
From: the Les Baxter Grotto (Minneapolis)
Posted: 2007-03-15 4:09 pm   Permalink


On 2007-03-15 14:10, DJ Terence Gunn wrote:
Quote:

Stanley Black's 'Exotic Percussion' is for the most part very good. It isn't jungle jazz or exotic jazz, though. It almost verges on being a square easy listening orchestra experience, like Morton Gould's 'Jungle Drums', Alfred Newman's 'Ports Of Paradise' (and there ARE 3 songs off this album I think are fantastic, so don't think I'm slamming it entirely), Ray Conniff's Hawaiian album, or some syrupy selection served up by Frank Chacksfield.



Whoa now... "a square easy listening orchestra experience?" Those would be fightin' words if it weren't for the fact that I tend to like a lot of square easy listening orchestra experiences. Seriously though, I'd have to rank Exotic Percussion pretty far up there, if for only one reason: the screaming delivery of the lyric "DEVIL MOON" at the end of Old Devil Moon. Gould, Newman, and Chacksfield could never have conceived of something like that! Like comparing oatmeal to the Snap, Crackle, POP of Rice Crispies (to use a cereal analogy for some strange reason).

On 2007-03-15 14:10, DJ Terence Gunn wrote:
Quote:

I am very curious about Johhny Richards' 'Rites Of Diablo', but have never heard it. However, knowing he did arrangements for Stan Kenton, I'm imagining this album to be totally bombastic. Still, I'm interested. Know where I can hear samples of it? I've looked online but to no avail. I'll probably have to resort to file sharing.



DJ, PM me and I'd be happy to send it to you on disc. But be prepared: the term "bombastic" is like a password at a speakeasy run by Richards: it'll get you in the door, but after that -- look out!



[ This Message was edited by: I, Zombie 2007-03-15 16:11 ]


 
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Kaiwaza
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Joined: Aug 06, 2003
Posts: 467
From: Waikiki Beach, Hawaii
Posted: 2007-03-16 02:21 am   Permalink

For me, there's "bad" music that I really enjoy, and "bad" music that I just don't enjoy. I'm surprised no one has mentioned "Sondi Sondsai" on Liberty. It's not a cheap LP when you run across it, and I must say, although conceptually great, I find Miss Sondsai's vocals nasally and not enjoyable at all.

 
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lucas vigor
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Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 3985
From: SOCAL
Posted: 2007-03-16 08:07 am   Permalink

I am going to go off-topic a little. Since some are debating what is exotica, I have always found the following album to be completely a modern version of exotica!

http://www.jonhassell.com/earthquake.html

The album is "earthquake island" and I had it at one time. The liner notes clearly define it as being exotica, but in my opinion it is and isn't. I guess listening to it will let you decide.


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bb moondog
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Joined: Apr 18, 2006
Posts: 492
From: Gilbert AZ
Posted: 2007-03-16 08:24 am   Permalink

I always felt that way about Hassells CITY...if ANY modern music could be interpreted as exotica. that would be IT--seems more middle-eastern than polynesian though

CHRIS & COSEYS Exotica however is definitel NOT exotica--and it IS Irritating how it TRIES to be


 
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lucas vigor
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Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 3985
From: SOCAL
Posted: 2007-03-16 09:45 am   Permalink

One of Jon Hassells recent albums was "fascinoma". He does a verion of caravan that is quite interesting.

I don't count his music as real exotica because there are no real happy themes there. It's all very serious, and basically minor key stuff. Or even Key-less stuff. With most exotica, even if it veers off to the dark and mysterious, it usually comes back to some happy jazzy home. Hassell's stuff does not.

However, his song titles and I think his general aim is to be really exotic. The songs always feature a lot of "native" style percussion. But be warned, he has a lot of electronica style stuff in there too. His main collaborater has been Brian Eno in the past.

But, I have to love an artist with the album title "the surgeon of the night sky restores dead things with the power of light" (or something like that) And that album cover shows a mangrove swamp with herons in it.

Is his style world music? probably, but he has the typical westerners approach to it, which is very much what denny-baxter-lyman were trying to do.

INMHO


 
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DJ Terence Gunn
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Joined: Jun 20, 2005
Posts: 250
Posted: 2007-03-16 12:57 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-03-15 13:35, Jeff Central wrote:
Quote:

On 2007-03-11 15:31, DJ Terence Gunn wrote:

How about Dick Hyman's 'Voodoo' album? I've never heard that one.



Dick Hyman never released an album called "Voodoo" but Richard Hayman did. This album is not anywhere near as good as Robert Drasnin's "Voodoo" but still a nice Exotica album.

Cheers,
Jeff




I'm confusing it with Dick Hyman's 'Voodoo Moon' -- of which, musically, there is no similarity. (I ALWAYS get those two blokes mixed up; and who can blame me? Dick is short for Richard, and Hyman is just short of a second 'a'.) I found Richard Hayman's 'Voodoo' and will get round to giving it a listen.


 
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Jeff Central
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Joined: Jul 23, 2002
Posts: 1611
From: Columbus, Ohio
Posted: 2007-03-16 1:05 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-03-16 08:24, bb moondog wrote:

CHRIS & COSEYS Exotica however is definitely NOT exotica--and it IS Irritating how it TRIES to be



WOW! I can't believe someone mentioned Chris and Cosey on this list. Their album "Exotica" is not Exotica music but they are definitely HUGE fans of the genre. It doesn't TRY to be Exotica but it is one of their biggest influences going all the way back to the early days of Throbbing Gristle. The intro to the title track "Exotica" is classic electronic Exotica. Sexy bass line, primal rhythms and bird sounds start the track off before going into an electronic dance track. This album was actually dedicated to both Les Baxter and Martin Denny for inspiration back in 1987. They actually introduced Exotica music to a lot of people, including myself, way before it actually became popular again.

Their latest CD entitled CABAL has even more electronic exotica without all the dance tracks and it sounds really nice. Similiar to Kavakon but much more dark with subsonic primal rhythms. One of my favorite CD's.

Cheers,
Jeff


 
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Jeff Central
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Joined: Jul 23, 2002
Posts: 1611
From: Columbus, Ohio
Posted: 2007-03-17 12:21 pm   Permalink

How about this for irritating..............

"Quiet Village Idiot" by The Tards!!!!!

Anyone else heard this? The Tards released a one-shot 8" single called I'm Just Like You. It was actually a side project by industrial noise artist Boyd Rice (NON) and Adam Parfrey (Feral House). It sounds like a group of retards humming to Les Baxter's "Quiet Village." This is both irritating AND hilarious at the same time!!!

or this..........

Spike Jones "I Search for Golden Adventure in My Seven Leaky Boots." This was a parody on the whole Exotica scene at the time. It features a narrator searching for the lost world of Exotica complete with sound effects. Politically incorrect but funnier than hell. It was released on the Omnibust album in the 1960's and I think it is currently available on CD.


Cheers,
Jeff




[ This Message was edited by: Jeff Central 2007-03-17 12:22 ]


 
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DJ Terence Gunn
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Joined: Jun 20, 2005
Posts: 250
Posted: 2007-03-17 3:44 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-03-17 12:21, Jeff Central wrote:
Spike Jones "I Search for Golden Adventure in My Seven Leaky Boots." This was a parody on the whole Exotica scene at the time. It features a narrator searching for the lost world of Exotica complete with sound effects. Politically incorrect but funnier than hell. It was released on the Omnibust album in the 1960's and I think it is currently available on CD.



Thanks for bringing to attention that song! I completely forgot about that one. I wonder how many folks on TC have heard this song? If you haven't, seek it out folks! Spike Jones is a plenty on CD.

However, regarding the song as irritating, I wouldn't call it so. Funny as all get out -- yes! Irritating -- no. And I LOVE anything non-PC, and HATE anything that IS PC, so extra points for that! (After all Exotica IS non-PC in many ways, as are the lyrics to many pop jazz standards.) The song is supposed to be a mockery, of course, but then that's primarily all Spike Jones ever did -- before the Spike Jones New Band, that is. But when Spike did it, he did it with accomplished musicianship, arrangements, and vocal talent.

Perhaps if I ever get round to compiling my CD of 'Exotica's Goofy Greats' (which will come with a set of foam ear plugs for those who wish to purchase it), I'll include 'I Search For Golden Adventure In My Seven Leaky Boots' betwixt Martin Denny's 'Goony Birds' and Michel Magne's 'Bahia'.

As far as a previous post or two stating the irritation of the 'Hawaiian Eye Theme', I couldn't agree with you less on that. The song itself -- with its terrific arrangement of stops and starts, dynamics, layered percussion and string and brass -- is striking, strong, and emotive. I can certainly understand why somebody may get a bit irritated with the vocals, and perhaps the song is better off without them, but the vocals could've been worse: Yma Sumac could've been hired to sing the 'Hawaiian Eye - Ughs!' 'Course, I'm sure there are plenty of TCers out there who would welcome such a notion.

So perhaps the original 'Hawaiian Eye Theme' would be best considered for border line irritation, simply because it is mainly the vocals that irritate. The Werner Muller instrumental version of 'Hawaiian Eye' (though I do like its Esquivel dynamics, arrangements, and craziness -- Muller being the only composer/arranger out there capable of emulating/pulling off Esquivel's style) is definitely a good candidate for irritating. But once again, it is not Exotica; it's late Atomic Age/early Space Age big band pop with a Hawaiian gesture (in the form of a slide guitar).



 
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