Good Music We Can Know

Monday, July 28, 2014

Flash Strap Presents: Bibliothèque Exotique Volume 5 – Tropicosmic (Synthesized Exotica and Electro-Primitivism)

Here we go.  Volume 5.  The last in this series, for the time being.  The infinite nature of the library world means that I could conceivably do this whole thing again ten times over, if I had access to every library LP in existence, but for now I have done all I can.  And I'm very excited about this temporarily-terminal installment, as it's the biggest yet, a seething, pulsing 2 and a half hours of cosmic jungle washes and bright plastic synthi-time rituals du sauvage.

This set runs a gamut from sterling electronic avant-garde (of a sort) to some rather more crass (but awesome in its way) e-music material, but they're all part of the same continuum, all speaking the same basic language of exoticism.  In this case, the gulf between the linguistic portal of the track's title and the formal elements of exoticism as evidenced by the music itself is as wide, or wider, than ever.  It's a fascinating thing about synth music: if you title an ambient sequencer-driven track "Neptune," then the listener unavoidably pictures an icy celestial body, imagery on a planetary scale.  If you title that same track "Jungle," then the listener conjures exotic visions of a rainforest, perhaps with a sci-fi/UFOlogical twist, or hot hazy shades of deep antiquity.  Neither experience would be more or less intrinsically authentic or perceptive than the other; you're just responding to the stimulus with which you've been provided—and besides, what does exotica, of all things, have to do with fidelity to fact, tradition, or formal rules, anyway?  If a track says it's exotica, then by gum it sure as hell has to be, doesn't it?

Many of the selections in Tropicosmic do lean particularly, even exclusively, hard on that paratextual tension to achieve their take on exotica.  But it's a spectrum: many others go all in for overt signifiers, classic genre hallmarks, and/or formal tropes of exoticism, all while employing the synthesizer palette to transform, mutate, or update the idiom.  There's all sorts here, even if nearly half of the selections employ the words "jungle" or "Africa" in their title—the most interesting thing is the variations and repetitions of strategies. 

David Toop referred to Exotica (in his book, Exotica) as "fabricated soundscapes in a real world."  He could scarcely have said it better, and it's as applicable a phrase now as ever.  Please enjoy this panorama of the synthesized exotic universe, as I hope you have enjoyed the broader panorama of the library-exotica landscape throughout the run of Bibliothèque Exotique.  I thank you for following along with me on this odyssey.

Tropicosmic: Synthesized Exotica and Electro-Primitivism

1. Kolibri (sunrise in the djungle); (Kuckuck & C. Brull Ltd.: Soundtrack)–Georg Deuter
2. Barimpa (Montparnasse: Interfrequence)–Ariel Kalma
3. Exotique (RCA Media: Robot Bleu)–Roland Bocquet
4. Panama (Coloursound Library: The Now Generation (Percussive Underscores))–Peter Lüdemann & Pit Troja
5. Brazilian Ballad (CAM: Publipot)–J.P. Decerf & M. Baroty
6. Yapaga Cova (Disc Go: GO 1003)–J.C. Pierric ?
7. New Tropical Safari (Montparnasse: Translation)–C. Hauterive & M. Saclays
8. Black Safari (CAM: Out of the Way [with Gérard Zajd, Tony Cerona]; also released on Chicago 2000: Light Flight More and More [as the artist Magical Ring])–J.P. Decerf
9. Black Power (Bota Fogo: The Easy Listening Group Vol.1)–Deschidado & Miniello
10. Slave March (Afrodisia: Black Goddess OST)–Remi Kabaka
11. VoodooTronics (StudioG/Trunk: G-Spots)–James Harpham
12. African War (Cenacolo: Grandangolo)–Amadeo Tommasi
13. African Délirium (CBS: April Orchestra Vol. 48, Présente FR2)–Francis Rimbert & Frederick Rousseau
14. Electronic Africa (TeleMusic: Automation Vol. 2)–Sauveur Mallia
15. African Break (TeleMusic: Percussions Modernes Vol. 1)–Sauveur Mallia
16. Mission Africa (TeleMusic: Music Force)–Swing Family (Sauveur Mallia)
17. Akili Mali (Palm Records: Colours)–Ralf Nowy
18. Tribal Ceremony (Sonimage: Safari)–Jean-Michel Hervé
19. Jungle Lovers (CAM: Construction)–Aldo Tamborrelli & Massimo Ruocco
20. Jungle Juice (De Wolfe: Push Button)–Rubba (Karl Jenkins & Mike Ratledge)
21. Jungle Caravan (Magicabus: Hypnosis)–Yan Tregger
22. Jungle Command (Amphonic: Sound Stage 18- The New World)–Anne Dudley
23. Synthetic Jungle (Sam Fox Productions: Deserted Palace)–Jean Michel Jarre
24. Jungle (Sonimage: Fusion)–Armand Frydman
25. Jungle (Sky: Inventions)–Adelbert Von Deyen & Dieter Schutz
26. Inca (DeWolfe: Stretch)–Simon Park
27. Rain-Forest (Selected Sound: Environment)–Claude Larson
28. Arabian Era (Montparnasse: Sound)–J.P. Decerf
29. Wizard (Montparnasse: Sound)–J.P. Decerf / M. Saclays
30. Oasis (Montparnasse: Interfrequence)–Ariel Kalma
31. Oasis (Cetra: Oasis)–Il Guardiano Del Faro
32. East Looks West (a); (KPM: A Higher State)–Andy Clark
33. Asia (RCA Media: Robot Bleu)–Roland Bocquet
34. Far-Off Lands (Themes International: A New Age)–Rod Argent & Robert Howes
35. Strange Paradise (Musax: Planant)–Gérard Gesina
36. Serengeti (Sonimage: Balance)–Martin Wester & Bernhard Hering
37. Savannah (Selected Sound: Environment)–Claude Larson
38. La Recreation du Kangourou (Disques Magellan: Patchwork Orchestra 5- Cosmic Sounds/China Moods)–Roger Davy
39. Ritmo Pampa (Globevision: I Grès vol. 2)–I Grès
40. Andean's Shepherd (Sonimage: Safari)–Jean-Michel Hervé
41. Sombrero (Montparnasse: Hypothese)–D. Labarre & F. Schnetzer
42. Exotic Guide (TeleMusic: Spatial & Co Vol. 2)–Sauveur Mallia
43. Tropic (Koka Media: Eureka)–Armand Frydman
44. Tropical (PSI: Turbulences)–Joël Fajerman
45. Atoll (Montparnasse: Hypothese)–D. Labarre & F. Schnetzer
46. Pink Island (Selected Sound: Rainbow Sessions)–Mike Moore Company
47. Lagon Tropical (Patchwork: Aquarius)–Pierre Dutour
48. Hymn To A Peaceful Island (Coloursound Library: Into The Wind)–Klaus Weiss
49. Hawaian et Fizz Guitars (CBS: April Orchestra Vol. 31 - Claviers Electroniques)–Caravelli
50. Hawaiiana (Coloursound Library: The PR TV Group - Contemporary Group Vol. 2)–Andre Mikola
51. Sea Holiday (Hawaii); (Forever Records: Mondial Folk Synthesizer III (Estremo Oriente-Africa))–Marcello Giombini
52. Treasure Island (Chappell: Atmospheric - Sea/Water)–Gouriet & Phillips



walkingtrees said...

gracias amigo!

AmericanSamourai said...

Thanks, FlashStrap!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic. Thanks for this series, I'll treasure it just like I did with your other series and the huge Libaek collection shared a while ago.

Keep 'em coming. :)

Anonymous said...

Very excited to hear this!! Thanks for all the amazing compilations you created, they all had very much impact on me.

Love from Holland,


Craftypants Carol said...

thank you so much for these. they're really fab!

Greta said...

Thank you Flash.
This series of compilations is absolutely stunning.
And what a generosity of tracks, 50 each!
Thank you for your job and your efforts.


Hyde said...

if you did this ten times over, I'd download it ten times over. thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. I've really enjoyed this series of compilations.

izen said...

Just wanted to say thank you for all the excellent work. The music is outstanding and the art work is first class. All 5 of the latest mixes are cued up for the road trip that commences tomorrow.

Katie said...

Yes, the linguistic portal! In the case of Exotica, the title is an especially powerful evocative force, conjuring vivid imagery and feelings that we associate with the music.

Flash Strap said...

Katie- exactly, exactly. I love that aspect of things. The linguistic/discursive calibration of the track names/album art that sets the stage for the music, music being an experience which purports to be mainly sonic in nature but is actually far more complex. AND THEN MY MIND GOES REELING OFF INTO SPACE

Anonymous said...

Belated thanks for the whole series, which has made my summer.

Anonymous said...

Flash Strap! what a fantastic site!.. loving both the music and the art work.. many many thanks.

highplainsdrifter said...

As a maker of mix tapes myself, I must give you my propers for this exquisite compilation. You have made a valuable compilation to the world's cultural joke, i do not think that is even close to an overstatement. Album art is first-rate as well and you've shown great care and insight with this series. Now I must listen...

Flash Strap said...

Thanks drifter, that means a lot, truly.

Tony Arnold said...

Many thanks for all the good work you do here. There's a lot of inspiration here for both music collectors as well as musicians--I happen to be both. As a fan of both exotica and synth music, you might have an interest in my page at (and "Deep Exile" in particular). All the albums are fully-streaming.

A Stranger Haven said...

Flash Strap!

I can't thank you enough for these five incredible volumes. I DJ this type of music and I can't imagine the hours you put into finding and assembling all of this. Thank you, thank you! I can't stop listening to the Mandingo stuff but I can barely find a trace of them online. Any idea how to get their records?

All the best,
A Stranger Haven

Flash Strap said...

Those Mandingo records used to be really easy to find out among the blogs... I would have thought they still were, but I suppose the landscape has been changing at an incredible rate, leaving once-common elements suddenly scarce.

I'll post what I have in a few days, it's really compelling stuff. That eponymous track of theirs is almost TOO intense.

travelleronthelimpopo said...

WOW! What a really great series. So many thanks for the effort and the sharing. Brilliant

AM Husk said...

thank you!

Steinar said...

Thanks for this share and the others!

Benny B said...

Thank you for the amazing compilation. This website is almost too overwhelming. I've just found it and am afraid I'll be spending the better part of my day exploring. Splendid stuff. Thanks!!!

Lee said...

Jesus man, you've set a proper bench-mark with these mixes-towering! Clearly the product of a genuine passion and worthy of the praise you're receiving. Thanks so much...Lee.

Anonymous said...

More Ariel Kalma Interfrequence Please! Its wonderful!
Thank you for all your invested time in offering this rich collection of ethno music to us all.

Anonymous said...

Flash Strap, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Flash Strap!!

Anonymous said...

Awseome serie of compilations! thanxx a lot