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.


brown beard said...

This is very exciting. Thank you so much

Anonymous said...

A precious gift indeed. Thanks for sharing this work.

Awor said...

Sheeeeeeeit thanks a lot.

Doug S. said...

What a gift this is. Thank you so much!

sam truan said...


Thank you very much!

AmericanSamourai said...

Thanks, FlashStrap... looking forward to Vol. 2!

Anonymous said...

you outta be paid for things like this

Flash Strap said...

sheesh, I wish

Anonymous said...

send this to richard bishop!


this is my favorite comp of yours so far. Keep up the good work.

Unknown said...

Flash, Fantastic collection! Thank you for that one! Eagerly awaiting the next installment. Perhaps you may enjoy my compositions:

Thanks again.

Flash Strap said...

Wes, I'm gonna email you later, but I wanted to say in the public forum that your stuff is good and I like it a lot.

brown beard said...

Hi Flash,
As a gesture of appreciation, and in the spirit of sharing, I'd like to send you a record that a couple of compadres and I made. Exotica inspired.
Vinyl, even. my email address is

Hit me up there. If i can get your address or PO box, i'll ship it off.


Buddy Nuggets said...

thank you for providing this classy music!

Anonymous said...

Just put together a short summertime nightdrive comp for my sweety - largely culled from your blog.

Thanks for everything flash!

The Sleepy Lagoon said...

Flash Strap, thank you so much for this unbelievable compilation. Nearly everything was new to me. I don't find words... All the best from Berlin

Sjef Rolet said...

I would like to thank you for all your efforts that went into these compilations and additional stories. It's HIGHLY appreciated! This is another great one.

Much love from Holland,


Cat said...

Thank you - again and again - for your deliciously curated compilations. My lazy summertime days are elevated as a result!

Holly said...

Flash, this is superb. What a labor of love! Thank you, thank you.

Muddy said...

Flash, are you in any way related to the great Owl who has been missing for some years? There are similarities.

Thanks for posting such and astonishing music.

Flash Strap said...

I am related to Owl in that he is, I like to think, a friend of mine... we began our tenures in the public forum around the same time, though he preceded me by a whisker or two. Neither I nor he is the secret sharer of the other, if that's what you're driving at...

Holly! Thank you, dear friend.

Sleepy Lagoon: I couldn't be more overjoyed that you've enjoyed this. Wonderful to hear from you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you et Bravo !
I love the track 2, for those whose interest, I found the complete album on maiolibrary.blogspot
[De Wolfe] - DWSLP 3029 - Peter Reno - Polaris

I will listen the library N°2 soon :)

nulloid said...

I just stumbled across this site randomly and I wanted to say thank you. What an amazing collection of music, I'll be listening to this stuff for a long time to come!

mostergren said...

I've listened to a lot of library records, and they're not all gems. However, you've managed to sift through the slop and present some terrific beauties here. Many Thanks!

Loopy C said...

What a fantastic collection (all volumes)! I grew up around these records but frankly had already collected enough in later life to have lost interest UNTIL Continuo's blog mention of your collections...couldn't help but take a listen and I got to say, these selections are unique and special even to my jaded ears, it truly all sounds new and 'exotic' to me again. And great art work also, well done ;-)

Super job, congratulations, and thank you for sharing :)


Anonymous said...

Hi, I check your blogs daily. Your humoristic style is witty, keep doing what you're doing!