Friday, June 11, 2010

RANT: Is there more to Exotica / Lounge than meets the eye? (UPDATED)

As a music buff, I have accumulated ALOT of music in my time. As I start to really appreciate the whole Tiki/Lounge subculture, you start to notice that alot of the music is pretty much the same records and musicians all the time. Martin Denny, Les Baxter, Arthur Lyman, and one of my favorites Korla Pandit, the mastermind behind the organ.

So in my time researching all of this, I've been trying hard to assemble my OWN Dark & Tiki soundtrack. I am a firm believer that bands like Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds and my more recent finds (thanks to Jeralyn!) Gallon Drunk & The Flaming Stars are definitely in the vein of our Tiki brethren.
gallon drunk

the flaming stars

If any, the prior post I did on Bohren & der Club of Gore was my first real love into the world of the so-called 'doom jazz' or 'jazz noir' sounds. Upon my research I've discovered quite a few different bands that make up this AMAZING sub-genre. There's the Kilimanjaro Dark Jazz Ensemble, which had a couple of pieces that could easily resemble a dark sided Exotica. The band still has a bit of a trip-hop vibe I can't seem to really enjoy, but there are some notable pieces in their catalog. I also discovered Heroin & Your Vein, and Somewhere off Jazz Street which both have the same stylings of Bohren with definite Twin Peaks undertones. Heavy sax, slow sustained sounds, and always the trademark sleepy piano or vibes.

bohren & der club of gore

heroin and your veins

As I began receiving more of my ebay items, I got a hold of the TIKI MODERN book by Sven Kirsten it had a great article on some of the more darker tinged Exotica records that were released by Arthur Lyman, Les Baxter and Martin Denny. There was Lex Baxter's collaboration record with Harry Revel & Dr. Samuel J. Hoffman entitled; 'Music out of the Moon', Music Unusual feat. the Theremin. A very space-y bachelor pad styled record that was a 3X10" release on Capitol. The music on this first album was very Orchestral, yet Haunting with Choir esque vocals and lots of Theremin. Feeling more like the background music to a Sci Fi Mystery than anything else, but still an amazing gem.

I have accumulated ALOT of music. I'm putting together my first Dark & Tiki vol. 1 compilation as we speak. I have a great arsenal of material to provide for your dark evenings while you sip your Mai Tai.

I'm also teaming up with my other half to create a new Podcast to discuss my recent finds. Stay Tuned!

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