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Martin Denny's breakthrough album, Exotica Martin Denny's breakthrough album, Exotica

Exotica is a musical genre, named after the 1957 Martin Denny album of the same title, popular during the late 1950s to mid 1960s typically with the middle-aged suburban set who came of age during World War II. The musical colloquialism exotica means tropical ersatz: the non-native, pseudo experience of Oceania (Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia, Southeast Asia, and especially Hawaii). While the South Seas forms the core region, exotica reflects the "musical impressions" of every place from standard travel destinations to the mythical "shangri-las" dreamed by armchair safari-ers.

Les Baxter's album, Ritual of the Savage (Le Sacre du Sauvage), would become the cornerstone of Exotica. This album featured lush orchestral arrangements along with tribal rhythms and featured such classics as "Quiet Village", "Jungle River Boat", "Love Dance", and "Stone God." Ritual is the seminal Exotica record, influencing all that came after it. As the 1950s progressed, Baxter carved out a niche in this area, producing titles in this style for Yma Sumac and Bas Sheva).

In 1956, Martin Denny burst on to the scene with his dreamy Hawaiian rhythms complete with exotic birdcalls. The new technology of stereo recording gave the music, and the oriental ethnic instruments in it, an almost surreal effect. After forming his band in 1955. In 1957, Denny with Les Baxter as composer produced the "Quiet Village", which established the sound of Polynesian music. After a string of successful albums Denny's commercial appeal faded as the Tiki fad wained. By the mid-1960s rock and roll supplanted Exotica in the American musical mainstream. Interestingly enough, Exotica and its parent genre, lounge, have resurfaced and have gained in popularity in recent years.

According to vinylist Hipwax, "exotica relies on percussion: conga, bongos, vibes, gongs, boo bams (bamboo sticks), Tahitian log, Chinese bell tree, bird calls, big-cat roars, and even primate shrieks invoke the dangers of the jungle. Except for a handful of singers and standards with lyrics, singing is rare. Abstract, sirenish ululations, fierce chants, or guttural growls are common, however."

See also

  • Mexican bandleader Juan Garcia Esquivel is sometimes regarded as forming part of the Exotica movement.
  • The music of American composer Raymond Scott is also recognized as a precursor to exotica, as several of his songs were written with the intent of transporting the listener to exotic locations via novelty instruments and sound effects.

External references

  • Vegas Vics Tiki Lounge Podcast Features music from the exotica genre of artists such as Les Baxter, Arthur Lyman and Martin Denny.
  • WAITIKI is one of the only new exotica bands in the world (Boston, MA, USA) performing both original music and covers. Another is Don Tiki of Honolulu, HI. Members of both bands have performed with Martin Denny.

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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