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Tiki Central Forums » » Tiki Music » » We Like Both Kinds of Music
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We Like Both Kinds of Music
MrFab
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Oct 14, 2004
Posts: 47
From: Van Nuys, CA
Posted: 2013-09-11 11:38 am   Permalink

This wiki article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiki_culture#Music) sez:

"There were two primary strains of this kind of exotica: Jungle and Tiki."

Huh?

How is it that I've been an exotica fan since the late '80s and I never heard of this distinction? Can't tell much of a difference myself. Is this what you-all think, or is this more wiki nonsense? Here's the whole quote:

"Soon came integration of the idea into music by artists like Les Baxter, Arthur Lyman, and Martin Denny, who blended the Tiki idea through jazz augmented with Polynesian, Asian, and Latin instruments and "tropical" themes creating the Exotica genre. This music blended the elements of Afro-Cuban rhythms, unusual instrumentations, environmental sounds, and lush romantic themes from Hollywood movies, topped off with evocative titles like "Jaguar God", into a cultural hybrid native to nowhere.

There were two primary strains of this kind of exotica: Jungle and Tiki. Jungle exotica was a Hollywood creation, with its roots in Tarzan movies and further back, to William Henry Hudson's novel Green Mansions. Les Baxter was the king of jungle exotica, and spawned a host of imitators while opening the doors for a few more genuine articles such as Chaino, Thurston Knudson, and Guy Warren.

Tiki exotica was introduced with Martin Denny's Waikiki nightclub jungle noises cover of Baxter's Quiet Village. Tiki rode a wave of popularity in the late 1950s and early 1960s marked by the entrance of Hawaii as the 50th state in 1959 and the introduction of Tiki hut bars and restaurants around the continental United States."


 
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Mr. Ho
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 09, 2005
Posts: 433
From: Boston, MA
Posted: 2013-09-11 12:21 pm   Permalink

The great thing about exotica is that you really can't totally define it. Nobody will ever really get any definition totally right as it has so much flexibility built into it, and every listener has their own bias. That's partly why I enjoy it as a framework to compose within!

best,
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lucas vigor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 3985
From: SOCAL
Posted: 2013-09-12 07:34 am   Permalink

My take: It's an artificial yet technically correct distinction in that wiki article, which is agreed on by many here.

I don't agree, of course.

The idea is that Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman were based in Hawaii and did polynesian themed albums mainly, but removed the ukelele and steel guitar from their sound and added exotic percussion instead.

Whereas the music of Les Baxter and Chaino and others was not specifically polynesian themed, but more a world theme...including Africa and Latin.

For me, all mid century exotica has the same intent and sentiment. I count albums such as Stan kenton's "Cuban Fire" to be exotica, for example.










In those days, they didn't have labels for this and that like we do now. All of this music (and the restaurants and drinks and cuisine) were designed for the urban savage and they didn't say "TIKI" was a style or distict from any other exotic concept the way this forum does.

I don't remember the name of it, but there is a restaurant someone posted here from maybe new mexico or colorado that was mexican themed, and was very well done with rocks and mountains and waterfalls, much like the famed "TIKIS" in Monterrey park. Nothing to do with tiki, but built with the same intent and attitude and designed for the same urban savage that went to a tiki bar or restaurant.

Edit: here it is:

http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=40915&forum=6&hilite=casa bonita




My point is most of the distictions between what is tiki and what is not tiki are based on someone's opinion or interpretation. Back in the day, there were no distictions really. It was all mid-centurty culture and I doubt the word "Poly Pop" ever came up. Likewise, "exotica" did not have any other labels such as "tiki" or "Jungle".



[ This Message was edited by: Lucas Vigor 2013-09-12 08:11 ]


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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11265
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2013-09-15 12:19 am   Permalink

Let's not forget that the Exotica Revival predated the Tiki Revival by a decade. When the term Exotica was first coined, there was no such genre as Tiki yet. Even though its name was based on the Martin Denny albums, the 90s Exotica revival cast a much wider net stylistically, represented by such magazines as "Ungawa":
http://www.vampalicious.co.uk/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=301

As I wrote in Tiki Magazine, there is a similar concept inherent in each genre:

"Looking back at the evolution of the Tiki revival from its beginnings in the artistic underground to its return into popular culture, the movement can be divided in three phases, of with each was a different form of the same basic principle: The multi-layered exotic experience.
1980s - 1990s EXOTICA: The multi-layered SOUND experience
mid-1990s - 2000s The TIKI LOUNGE: The multi-layered VISUAL experience
mid 2000s - 2010s The Tiki COCKTAIL: The multi-layered TASTE experience"

Happily, nowadays we can enjoy all three in unison, as it should be

[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2013-09-15 08:02 ]


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Kaiwaza
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 06, 2003
Posts: 467
From: Waikiki Beach, Hawaii
Posted: 2013-09-15 3:21 pm   Permalink

Well, I mean, if Wikipedia says so, it must be true, right?

I've never heard it explained that way, but it does make SOME sense. There's always been some "exotica" music that I've felt comfortable mixing with my Hawaiian LPs and some "exotica" that just seems too far afield to mix in. And I've also often felt many "Latin" recordings done by American/European orchetras & groups can slip into the "exotica" realm. Anything where they are somewhat "overemphasising" certain elements like percussion or unusual instruments & chord progression..but not really representations of the true local music culture.

Of course, as has been said, it's interesting but kind of "water under the bridge" since none of these terms were used at the time anyway. I guess people living in the Rennaisance didn't walk around saying "I'm living in the Rennaisance Period..."
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Bruddah Bear
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 07, 2011
Posts: 629
From: Los Angeles Basin, Westside
Posted: 2013-09-16 02:48 am   Permalink


Have to say, when I saw the title of this thread, and even after reading the first post, I just kept thinking about this movie scene;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSZfUnCK5qk



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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2700
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2013-09-16 08:39 am   Permalink

I remember a well known musician in the Tiki community once commented to me that he really didn't consider the music of Les Baxter as "Exotica". Baxter's orchestral styled arrangements (some of it literal movie soundtracks, i.e. "Sacred Idol") was in a different vein that of the smaller combo (quartet?) music of Martin Denny, Arthur Lyman, and Gene Rains.

So maybe we can say that "Exotica" is small combo music meant to be played live in a nightclub setting and "Jungle" is orchestral studio music.


 
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lucas vigor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 3985
From: SOCAL
Posted: 2013-09-16 10:09 am   Permalink

I actually like that description better then the wikipedia article.

 
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OnyaBirri
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 02, 2006
Posts: 419
Posted: 2013-09-16 4:15 pm   Permalink

Quote:

Of course, as has been said, it's interesting but kind of "water under the bridge" since none of these terms were used at the time anyway.



I don't think anyone was using the word "tiki" to apply to music back then, but "exotica" was certainly used. For example, the liner notes to the Chico Hamilton LP "Gongs East" refer to the title track as "exotica." Similarly, Columbia inner sleeves from the early 1960s list an "exotica" category, although many of the things they list are not what we would classify as "exotica" today. So, the term was being used in a generic way even back then.



 
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Atomic Tiki Punk
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 6290
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 2013-09-16 4:45 pm   Permalink

I think we can all agree that ground zero for "Exotica" as a music style
was Mid Century Hollywood, Calif.


 
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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2700
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2013-09-16 4:49 pm   Permalink

Here's that amazing period article which The Jab discovered that documented Exotica from the perspective of the time rather than the Lounge Revival...

http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=35199&forum=11

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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11265
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2013-09-16 9:26 pm   Permalink

Yup, that article was really a fantastic find: Not only did it show that there were people during that time (even if only a few) that thought about "Exotica" as a genre by listing all the now accepted key players of the style (Marty, Arty, and Les). It also mentions a slew of singular classics like "White Goddess" and "Exotic Island" (which are considered "discoveries" by the Exotica revivalists), PLUS it casts a similarly wide net as the modern Exotica revival does, by not only including orchestral stylings like Henry Mancini and Andre Kostelanetz, but also Hawaiiana, Latin, and the Space Age sounds of Russ Garcia.

If I would not have seen this article with my own eyes, I would have believed it to be some clever retro-engineered fake, it so perfectly captures what was thought to be an 80s/90s hipster discovery.

Now John-O, you find something like that that will describe a pop culture genre called "Tiki" in it's own heyday so completely, and I will never again claim to have defined it!


 
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OnyaBirri
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 02, 2006
Posts: 419
Posted: 2013-09-17 04:31 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-09-16 16:45, Atomic Tiki Punk wrote:
I think we can all agree that ground zero for "Exotica" as a music style
was Mid Century Hollywood, Calif.



While it may have crystalized with Les Baxter - in mid-Century Hollywood - there are certainly earlier examples in classical, jazz, film and pop music.

[ This Message was edited by: OnyaBirri 2013-09-17 05:10 ]


 
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Mr. Ho
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 09, 2005
Posts: 433
From: Boston, MA
Posted: 2013-09-17 05:08 am   Permalink

Totally agree w/ OnyaBirri. Check out some Ottorino Respighi and his tone poems. Big inspiration for me as a composer. if we ignore the design of the album cover and just listen to the music, I think the "beginning" is definitely another gray area of exotica and up to the listener to decide for themselves!

mr. ho
_________________
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Esquivel Big Band & Global Jazz Quintet
“no group on the planet sounds like the Orchestrotica”–Lucid Culture
http://orchestrotica.com/ ••• New album Nov. 2013


 
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OnyaBirri
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 02, 2006
Posts: 419
Posted: 2013-09-17 05:25 am   Permalink

Yes.

And check out these two seldom-recorded Villa-Lobos chamber works from the mid-1920s. The price is right:

http://www.amazon.com/Nonetto-Heitor-Villa-Lobos/dp/B001CC7DPA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1379420337&sr=8-2&keywords=villa+nonetto

They are sonic and textural templates for both Tamboo and the Sacred Idol.

"Lotus Land" dates from 1905. Here it is as played by composer Cyril Scott. Nearly every "exotica" version of this tune stays very close to the original:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7dAhrr7Vlk

And there are so many film scores from the first half of the century - Miklos Rozsa's "Thief of Baghdad" and "The Jungle Book," Max Steiner's "King Kong," the list goes on...


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