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Tiki Central Forums » » Tiki Music » » 1960 HiFi / Stereo Review 5-page article on Exotica (scanned)
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1960 HiFi / Stereo Review 5-page article on Exotica (scanned)
Mr. Ho
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Joined: Oct 09, 2005
Posts: 433
From: Boston, MA
Posted: 2010-01-26 09:03 am   Permalink

I most certainly am judging it; casting my own opinion

The interesting question to me is about that whole authenticity/non-authenticity intent. It would be interesting to know from the horse's mouth what the real vibe was behind all of this (no pun intended!) I don't buy the fact that those of us creating this music are more intellectual about music today; our walls have been lowered with the web, the ability to travel, etc but I would imagine that the level of western musical training that most of those players had was beyond what most record-producing musicians are doing today. e.g. One probably had formal training and came out of a school, you could read, arrange, maybe improvise, and knew enough to re-arrange or transcribe orchestral or dance hits of the day etc. and understood harmony (whether jazz, asian cliche, etc). There were no synths or garageband to help out in the process or other shortcuts. No sampling. This is why its curious to me that with this assumed training, the execution of some of the music is just so weird/bad in some cases (and great in others)...it really makes me wonder if there was a race to just churn out stuff and press records with interesting juxtapositions and combos.

I hear you on the "innocence" thing; but there is a difference between a beautiful "faux" execution of something and a baby throwing paint at the canvas over and over where it's called "art" every 1 in 100 tries since the splash was "just right" and looked artistic or had some type of audience value. I don't think it was quite this random.

Enough musings from me!

Mr. Ho

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Esquivel Big Band & Global Jazz Quintet
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Kawentzmann
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 28, 2002
Posts: 254
From: Berlin, Germany
Posted: 2010-01-26 11:45 am   Permalink

Things happened really fast in music and fashion during the 50s and 60s, comparable to the technology race today. So, yes I believe many records were recorded to be in the race.

[ This Message was edited by: Kawentzmann 2010-01-26 11:45 ]


 
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tabuzak
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 07, 2005
Posts: 284
From: New York City
Posted: 2010-01-26 11:51 am   Permalink

Interesting, so then maybe this is a distinction between Exotica and Neo-Exotica (i.e. Waitikiki, Mr. Ho, Stolen Idols).

Jack


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11195
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2010-01-26 2:09 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-01-26 09:03, Mr. Ho wrote:
...it really makes me wonder if there was a race to just churn out stuff and press records with interesting juxtapositions and combos.


I know that there definitely was, one of the best examples is "The Surfmen" and their "Exotic Island" album, which was purely put together to capitalize on the Exotica trend. I know because I knew the man behind it: David L. Miller, founder of the 101 Strings series, but also of the EUROPA budget label in Germany, for which my dad became the General Manager:


Dave Miller and Harald Kirsten in Hamburg, Germany, 1966

To make clear that he was only interested in making money, Miller's famous credo was "We are not in the record business, we are in the plastics business!" He had figured out that classically trained orchestras would work for peanuts in Germany after the war, and so he recorded his 101 Strings albums with the Hamburg Radio Orchestra, at the Hamburg Music Hall, that's the place the well known photo from the front and back of many of the 101 Strings albums depicts:



See the box on the left above the stage? They had their mixing board in there, and I remember sitting up there in my early teens when visiting my dad at work, recording one of the label's 2nd rate cover bands, put together from studio musicians.

That's why I put a track from "Exotic Island" on my "Sound of Tiki" CD. And also to leave no doubt about the fact that the Exotica trend was mainly a COMMERCIAL endeavor --which was before "going commercial" became a bad thing.

The irony is that not only is that album now appreciated by Exotica fans as one of the finer examples of the genre, but even our music critic John Ball lauded it in the article that started this whole thread. Even funnier is that, while he is convinced that "the bird calls are the real thing, and so are the jungle noises" I myself felt I had this to say in my liner notes:

"This track ("Bamboo") was chosen for this compilation for two reasons: Because of its funny phony bird calls--which sound more like retching after having had one too many Zombie cocktails (Dave Miller was known to down 14 martinis and to still be able to work)--and also because this author’s father was hired by Miller in the 1960s..."

Boy, I get to roll down my whole life here on this thread! First "Duel on the Beach" and now early childhood recording session experiences (NOT with The Surfmen, unfortunately, who recorded in Hollywood, not Hamburg)


 
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Marty Lush
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Sep 25, 2008
Posts: 91
From: A Bar In Far Bombay
Posted: 2010-01-26 3:07 pm   Permalink

Did anyone notice the article's mention that Rituals of the Savage was "presented as a ballet"? Did I understand that right? A ballet was produced to the music of the album? Or did that mean something different?

 
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thejab
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2986
From: Tradewinds Apartments, Alameda, CA
Posted: 2010-01-26 5:20 pm   Permalink

Mr. Ho, I appreciate your observations as a musician, but some of the best music (exotica and rock 'n roll, to name two) is good because it doesn't take itself too seriously, in my opinion. I like to listen to serious forms of music (jazz, classical) also, but exotica always seemed to me more appropriate as background music, preferably in a tiki bar or luau, than music one sits down and listens carefully to. I'm sure lots of people here may disagree with me, but that is the way I look at it.

 
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Jeff Central
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Joined: Jul 23, 2002
Posts: 1602
From: Columbus, Ohio
Posted: 2010-01-27 05:59 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-01-26 15:07, Marty Lush wrote:
Did anyone notice the article's mention that Rituals of the Savage was "presented as a ballet"? Did I understand that right? A ballet was produced to the music of the album? Or did that mean something different?



I noticed this too. Very interesting....

Cheers and Mahalo,
Jeff


 
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Jeff Central
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 23, 2002
Posts: 1602
From: Columbus, Ohio
Posted: 2010-01-27 06:31 am   Permalink

After 1957 most albums were made to "cash in" on the trend of Exotica. Another example is Robert Drasnin's "Voodoo" album. It was composed and recorded in a matter of months!!

Thanks for the history lesson on the Somerset Label Bigbro. They really cranked them out during the day.

Great pics too! You look a lot like your Dad.

Cheers and Mahalo,
Jeff




 
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tabuzak
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 07, 2005
Posts: 284
From: New York City
Posted: 2010-01-27 06:45 am   Permalink

I somewhat agree with thejab on this one. Exotica by the likes of Les Baxter (the originator?), Robert Drasnin, and Milt Raskin took a Hollywood view of Orientalism with it's compositions and sat it in front of top notch players, who probably had no more committment to this musical style than any other. This is great stuff.

On the other hand, Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman got their inspiration along the same lines, but being musicians that played out regularly as quartets and quintets, started to take the style more seriously. I see the musicians in Waitiki, The Stolen Idols, and The Orchestrotica Mini, following suit more in this tradition - but possibly even more seriously.

Exotica is (or was?) a sub-genre of Easy Listening. It's fun. It's got variety. Fortunately these serious guys seem to be keeping the fun in there too.


 
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Kawentzmann
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 28, 2002
Posts: 254
From: Berlin, Germany
Posted: 2010-01-27 07:56 am   Permalink

It’s most obvious with the Command Percussion LPs of Enoch Light. You hear the sound of pros in a state of the art studio, not a make-believe jungle. People bought them because they had stereos but no stereo records and the clerk recommended them because they were good. Pros will have as much fun as anybody putting something interesting together. The difference is that they don’t struggle and it appears as easy.

[ This Message was edited by: Kawentzmann 2010-01-27 07:57 ]


 
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Tiki Joe's Pop
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 01, 2006
Posts: 519
From: Seattle
Posted: 2010-01-27 08:32 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-01-27 07:56, Kawentzmann wrote:
It’s most obvious with the Command Percussion LPs of Enoch Light. You hear the sound of pros in a state of the art studio, not a make-believe jungle. People bought them because they had stereos but no stereo records and the clerk recommended them because they were good. Pros will have as much fun as anybody putting something interesting together. The difference is that they don’t struggle and it appears as easy.

[ This Message was edited by: Kawentzmann 2010-01-27 07:57 ]



Agreed, wholeheartedly. Enoch's timing, and his capitalizing on the burgeoning hi-fi world was such a smart use of the technology and possibilities. I had always wished that Enoch Light would have ventured into Exotica, seeing that he had obviously amassed, with the help of Command (and Project 3), some tremendous musicians, and he created such thoughtful arrangements within that stereo spectrum. His Bossa Nova/Brazilian influenced LPs are truly something else.

BTW- thanks for the terrific article, thejab- what a cool find.
-Andy


 
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tabuzak
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 07, 2005
Posts: 284
From: New York City
Posted: 2010-01-27 09:07 am   Permalink

There were arrangements recorded of Exotica compositions on the Command label by Enoch Light, Dick Hyman, and more. You may have heard them though and didn't realize they were exotica - or at least they didn't sound like Martin Denny. A well known example is "Swamp Fire." Compare the versions on Light's "Dimension 3" LP with Denny's on "Afro-Desia."

The hyper active (SABP style) arrangements by Enoch Light give Exotica a character that could be called at odds with the often tranquil seductive sounds of the Denny/Lyman/Baxter contingent.

Same goes for Esquivel. He souped the stuff up.

Not judging here - just pointing out the differences. I love Enoch Light and Esquivel especially. I use them sparingly in Exotica mixes though.

Jack


 
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Tiki Joe's Pop
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 01, 2006
Posts: 519
From: Seattle
Posted: 2010-01-27 10:26 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-01-27 09:07, tabuzak wrote:
There were arrangements recorded of Exotica compositions on the Command label by Enoch Light, Dick Hyman, and more. You may have heard them though and didn't realize they were exotica - or at least they didn't sound like Martin Denny. A well known example is "Swamp Fire." Compare the versions on Light's "Dimension 3" LP with Denny's on "Afro-Desia."

The hyper active (SABP style) arrangements by Enoch Light give Exotica a character that could be called at odds with the often tranquil seductive sounds of the Denny/Lyman/Baxter contingent.

Same goes for Esquivel. He souped the stuff up.

Not judging here - just pointing out the differences. I love Enoch Light and Esquivel especially. I use them sparingly in Exotica mixes though.

Jack



Thanks, Jack! I've got to get my hands on a copy of "Dimension 3"- great to know. Not a surprise to hear your explanation of his "less-than-tranquil" approach. Enoch and Esquivel surely fought for that "far out" title.
-Andy


 
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professortiki
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Nov 27, 2002
Posts: 35
From: Berlin, Germany
Posted: 2014-08-21 07:11 am   Permalink

"Yah Herr Professor! Thank you for being my eye witness, if not for that (and the pictures) nobody would have believed this actually happened. I do think though if I would be walking up to a dude I just saw wield a 30 inch blade I would keep my visor down -- it's an old custom."

I guess by now the number of people questioning my visionary foresight, that America IS indeed a police state, has significally become smaller.

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