Sunday, January 2, 2011
Exotica For The New Year: Flash Strap Presents- Exotiste (2011)
Happy New Year, friends. Here is something I've been putting together for myself, and you as well, and now I'm pleased to turn it loose upon you. Inspired in part by Mr. Murky Recess' positively splendid, transcendent home-made comp Purple Chicha, a set of chopped-and-screwed Peruvian Cumbias Rebajadas (my nomination for best comp of its kind, which is to say: a "blog original", of the year-- get it if you're smart).
The compilation I present you with today is a concoction of my own labors, an outing of tastefully chopped-and-screwed--if you will-- Exotica tracks. My passion for the many works "Exotic" is well known in these parts, and I've always insisted that my enthusiasm stems from a recognition of the sophisticated, oft-times experimental efforts of the creators of this sublimely evocative music. I resist the popular notion that Exotica must retire to one of two ghettoes: kitsch hell or "lounge culture."
This compilation, rather meaninglessly entitled Exotiste, is not an attempt to "improve" these tracks, or even make them somehow more "contemporary," it is merely an opportunity to experience these compositions (some not-so-great in their original incarnations, others already damn near perfect) in a different way, to hear them anew, to set them more effectively into a different context. Some of these songs, when teased out, stretched apart, and dubbified, take on entirely new character, becoming abstract and trippy sound-paintings; others find a fatter bassline than might have been expected and take a druggier turn; still others become simply longer, slower versions of themselves, an alternate take at a slower tempo, all the better to luxuriate in the mood of the composition.
Vintage Exotica, even at its best (admittedly with quite a few exceptions), can have a zippy, optimistic sound, the wholesomeness of which can make it unsuitable for such pursuits as night driving, getting stoned, or becoming otherwise weird; this comp offers a reversal of that quality, steering familiar space-age pop sounds further into the dark territory of Angelo Badalamenti, krautrock, and dub menace-- not to mention the Dirty South and Cumbias Rebajadas connection.
Anyway, I made this for myself, having realized that what I wanted to hear was this, and that not many folks had done anything much like it. It pleased my ears and boggled my mind enough that I felt I ought to share it with you. Put it on, get to being strange, and have the most languid and trippy exotica experience you can. This is an opium den on an absinthe beach, a smoky jungle. A slow-motion savage ritual, a spirit quest into the fantasies of our grandfathers, an alligator dream. A table set with zapote negro, guanabana, rambutan, durian melon, hash balls, a suckling pig, coconut milk cocktails, human skulls, ayahuasca, and coca leaves, ringed by a gallery of unusual birds with thousand-yard stares.
Here's the tracklist:
1. Eros in Hiro- Pierro Picioni
2. Jungle Drums- Xavier Cugat
3. Shadow of Love and the Enchanted Reef- Les Baxter
4. Temple of Suicide- Dominic Frontiere
5. Moon Over A Ruined Castle- Arthur Lyman
6. Papagayo-Les Baxter
7. Baixa- Martin Denny
8. Two Silouettes- Michel Magne
9. Mombasa Love Song-Tak Shindo
10. The Games- Les Baxter
11. Mganga- Tak Shindo
12. The Enchanted Sea- Les Baxter
13. Beyond the Reef- Tommy Morgan
14. The Misfits- Don Costa
15. Buddhist Bells- Martin Denny
16. Tabu Tu- Arthur Lyman
17. Otome San/(Love Theme) Landa- Arthur Lyman/Les Baxter