Good Music We Can Know

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Flash Strap Presents: Bibliothèque Exotique Volume 1, Panorama of the Exotic World

For some time now, I've been working on an ambitious project, collecting from the near-infinite pool of Library music every example of exoticism I can find.  The goal is not only to put together a listening experience that should be a blast, but also to assemble a fascinating portrait of exoticism and "otherness" as it has been conceived in musical terms by (largely) Western, mostly European artists in a versatile idiom that stretches from the 60's to the 80's; to display the repetition and evolution of themes, recurring motifs, and occasional visionary breaks from convention, and study them.  Particularly of interest to me is the way in which the exotic paratext of the piece's title can suggest exoticism when the content of the music itself otherwise may not have.  To put Africa or jungle in the title is potentially just as effective as including field recordings or "ethnic" percussion-- indeed, it is these sundry strategies of intimating exoticism, rather than employing any consistent study of ethnic music forms, that defines exotica as a general conceptual idiom in all its iterations.  This series will cover the broadest possible range of exotic strategies and subjects employed by library composers (and some soundtracks) over a period of three decades.

I want to point out that the series will exclude some of the most foundational composers of library exotica, as I've covered them thoroughly in the past: Roger Roger and Nino Nardini (whose essential Jungle Obsession should already be known to you all, and for whom I've already assempled a comp-- which I may follow up with a second volume soon), Piero Umiliani (who I've also treated to a double-comp), and Sven Libaek (who is his own universe anyway).

Having put together hours and hours of material, and compiling the best of it, I present to you today the first in the series: Bibliothèque Exotique Volume 1: Panorama of the Exotic World.  This volume is focused mainly, though not exclusively, on earlier works, and leans toward a sound more in line with classic Exotica.  It begins with expedition and jungle motifs, reaches back into prehistory, explores a smattering of exotic locales, doglegs through the Orient for some classic Orientalism, the finishes out in an extended stay in paradise and tropical leisure.  Here's the tracklist. Each track title is followed by the Label and LP of origin-- I've done my level best to get all the info, including the actual and often elusive artist names, correct:

1. Jungle Paths (De Wolfe: T.V. Suite No.2)–Peter Reno
2. The Lost World (De Wolfe: Polaris)–Peter Reno
3. Jungle Song (Chappell: Telecineradio Vol. 1)–Paul Bonneau
4. Tropical Forest (Chappell: Telecineradio Vol. 6)–Paul Bonneau
5. Label Sauvage (Montparnasse: Puzzle)–Eric Framond
6. Alien Lands (Golden Ring: Sound Music Album 2)–Peter Thomas
7. African Landscape (DeWolfe: 78")–Hugo De Groot
8. Jungle Campfire alt. Version (De Wolfe: T.V. Suite No.2)–Peter Reno
9. Sea Spray (De Wolfe: T.V. Suite No.2)–Peter Reno
10. Darkness (De Wolfe: Eye For An Eye)–Jack Trombey
11. Blue Shadow (DeWolfe: Black Pearl)–Alan Parker
12. African Moon (Chappell: LPC 613-619)–Robert Stoltz
13. Down River (Sonoton: A Musical Wildlife Vol. 1-Pastoral)–Otto Sieben/Mac Prindy
14. Africa Speaks (Conroy: Modern Mixture)–Sam Sklair & Gus Galbraith
15. River Crossing (Sonoton: A Musical Wildlife Vol. 1-Pastoral)–Otto Sieben/Mac Prindy
16. Jungle Expedition (Sonoton: Unusual Sounds Vol. 1)–Augustyn Bloch
17. Pagan Ritual (Bruton: Wildlife)–Nigel Shipway
18. Noces De L'Eau Et Du Feu (Disques A Charlin: Les Cyclopes)–Patrice Sciortino
19. Pagoda (Fonit: C 264 Caratteristici)–Mario Migliardi
20. Reflets D'indonésie (Montparnasse:  Musique Pour... Journal Parlé Et Télévisé)–Daniel J. White
21. The Statues Of Eastern Island (De Wolfe: Musical Prisms)–Spencer Nakin
22. Reflets D'afrique (Montparnasse: Musique Pour... Journal Parlé Et Télévisé)–Daniel J. White
23. Wayang (Parry: Around the World Vol. 4)–Serama Oka
24. Ruines De Machu Pichu (Impala: Ambiance)–Daniel J. White
25. Gamelan Theme nº3 (Parry: Around the World Vol. 4)–Serama Oka
26. The Pavillion of Nefertiti (Boosey & Hawkes: National)–Monia Liter
27. Burma Road (DeWolfe: 78")–Hugo De Groot
28. Lhasa Boy (Conroy: Anytime Anyplace Anywhere)–Georges Teperino
29. Call At Malaga (Chappell: Telecineradio Vol. 1)–Paul Bonneau
30. Samouri (Conroy: BMLP 006)–O. D'Andrea
31. Music From Hoang Ho (Chappell: Dance & Mood Music Vol. 10)–Sammy McWilliams
32. Solitude Tag (De Wolfe: T.V. Suite No.2)–Peter Reno
33. Extase (Chappell: Telecineradio Vol. 12)–Paul Bonneau
34. Tropicano (De Wolfe: Polaris)–Peter Reno
35. Tropic Night (Chappell: Mood Music Vol. 8)–Robert Farnon
36. Exotica (Chappell: LPC 1047)–Roger Webb
37. Silver Sand (KPM: Bugaloo in Brazil)–Les Baxter
38. Bahia Bossa Nova (TeleMusic: Vibraphones)–Bernard Lubat
39. Tropicana (KPM: Amusement)–John Scott
40. Tropical Green (KPM: Brazilian Suite)–Rogerio Duprat
41. Tropical Fashion (Conroy: Panoramic Strings-Soft Sounds)–Walt Rockman
42. Blue Pacific (De Wolfe: Blue Pacific)–Peter Reno
43. Sun-Kissed (Chappell: LPC 1047)–Roger Webb
44. Swaying Palms (DeWolfe: Bossalena)–Keith Papworth
45. Bahama Midnight (Golden Ring: Charming)–Fred Forster
46. Orchidées De Brasilia (Impala: Ambiance)–Daniel J. White
47. Costa Brava (Chappell: Mood Music Vol. 8)–Philip Buchel
48. Palm Beach (De Wolfe: Blue Pacific)–Peter Reno
49. Voyage (Delta Sound: Voices in Latin)–Joe Romis
50. March Exotic (Chappell: LPC 529-534)–Arnold Steck
51. Tropical Flutes (Parry: Themes & Jingles Vol. 2)–Adams, Browne

Huge gratitude is owed to the many librarians out there who helped me (knowingly and unknowingly) compile such exquisite treasures.  Durango, Greta, Maio, Basso, Retronic, Killa, 4th Assassin, Gianni (many of whose shares are generally kept beyond the Boxes of Toys paywall, and who has been gracious enough to allow their use in this project, with his blessing -- those tracks are/will be hotlinked, so please follow through and pay him a visit and a thanks), and all the many others.  Thank you all.


Volume 2 will come next week.  It will be more along the lines of library weirdness, more synths, grooves, and minimalism, and on the theme of jungle, safari, and wildlife/native encounter.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Some Opals for your Coffers: Sonny Silver- Midnight in Kenya; Gianni Safred- Electronic Designs

I've got some hopefully exciting new things for you all in the next week or two, but in the meantime I wanted to link to a couple things that have really been pleasing my speakers recently.  The first is this gritty & sweaty African-esque French surf-jazz EP (with a bit of twist, as in "the twist"), found over at the supremely enjoyable swingaconga blog (inactive since 2012, but new to me and a pleasure to sift through).  The proprietor generally favors a one-track-only manner of sharing, but in this case the full EP is available.  Check it out, but stick around to scope the rest of the treasures in the garden.


The second won't be news to any of you who follow Boxes of Toys, but I really want to highlight it right now because it is quite possibly my favorite library outing of all time (and also because Music Scene LPs, while often quite excellent, could not be less appealing in their uniform covers, and you may have skipped past this one without giving it a second thought): Gianni Safred and His Electronic Instruments: Electronic Designs (shared by Greta).  Sometimes I just cannot stop playing this thing, back to back.  All killer no filler, as they say, and weird all down the line.

Gianni Safred only made three records, to my knowledge (the other being the awesome, but not this awesome, Futuribile), and he has this subtly unique sensibility that thrills me, with these electrifying little runs on the synths/keys and really evocative melodies like sloooow sambas from the icy core of the moon, or Vince Guaraldi if he were really brilliantly stoned and sessioning at Umiliani's Sound Work Shop.  It hardly gets better than this.  Masterpiece.

Electronic Designs

Friday, June 13, 2014

Flash Strap Presents: Jungle Shadows Vol. 5

Let's take this summer seriously with a new Jungle Shadows mix.  Please enjoy, and don't forget to grab both parts.  Put this on and head straight for the adventure like a cannonball; alternately, have an exquisite glass of ice tea and bliss out in the sun.  My best to you during this time.

1. To The Adventure- Guido & Maurizio De'Angelis
2. Jungle Talk- Bob Chance
3. Mecca- Gene Pitney
4. The Slummer The Slum- The "5" Royales
5. Shadows Breaking Over My Head- Left Banke
6. Deep Shadows- Little Ann
7. Crazy Lazy- Spike
8. Sunken Ship 2- Sam Spence
9. Island Feelin/African Blood (Control Car Style)- Supermax
10. Mozart En Afrique- Michel Magne
11. African Sleigh Ride- Vince Guaraldi
12. Watusi- John McFarland
13. Bert's Blues- Donovan
14. Yep Roc Heresay- Slim Gaillard
15. Egyptian Shumba- The Tammys
16. Le Fantome de Saint-Estev- C. Lara, J. Musy

1. Aquarium (with The Esso Trinidad Steel Band)- Van Dyke Parks
2. Atlantis- Sergio Ferraresi
3. Little Bird- Beach Boys
4. Lord, What a Morning- Les Baxter
5. Luna Rosa (Blushing Moon)- Norrie Paramor & His Orchestra
6. Jungle Concert- Xavier Cugat
7. Jungle Dream- Los Índios Tabajaras
8. Rain-Forest Rag- John Sangster
9. Mirage- Heinz von Moisy
10. Part II (Sex Power)- Vangelis
11. Bodo- Mammane Sani et son Orgue
12. Elastic Points- Gianni Safred And His Electronic Instruments
13. Baia- Ferrante & Teicher
14. Nightingale- Jimmy Namaro
15. The Night Of The Purple Moon- Sun Ra
16. There Was a Time- Donovan
17. Fidel Castro- Belita Palma
18. Les Marquises- Jacques Brel
19. E_S_Rever- Spike


This is the final chapter of the Jungle Shadows series.  Whatever shall follow will do so under a new name and with a different (but likely rather similar) purpose.

Up next: the previously-advertised series of exoticist library works, Bibliothèque Exotique.  Thanks for sending in your choice tracks, those of you that did (you know who you are, you splendid birds). 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Esperanto of Pangaea: Flamingods Tour 2014

I've just made a tour poster for UK/Bahrain exotic experimental group Flamingods.  Check out their new video for the track "Hyperborea," from the album Hyperborea (which you can listen to/purchase here):

If you're in the area, check out their tour dates here (where there is also a lovely collection of visual exoticisms), or on the more informative tour poster below. 

New Jungle Shadows mix coming later in the week.  Please stay tuned.