Thursday, January 19, 2012

Psychic TV- Themes

Part I- Piano and Clarinet
Part II- Tibetan Human Thigh Bones
Part III- Cowbell, Bicycle Wheel, and Vibes
Part IV- New Guinea Headhunter's Pipe, Large and Small Drum
Part V- Piano and String Machine
Part VI- Recording Made at Jonestown, Guyana at the time of the Suicides
Part VII- African Initiation Drum and Animal Tusk Horn
Part VIII- Various Temple Bells, Gongs, Cymbals and Vibes

An album to be used "in...rituals as functional music intended only to aid in the process of making things happen," and also meant to be a practical tool. Makes perfect sense to me. It's easy to picture some tribe or cult having ritual music like this. The functional/practical part seems subjective, to me. Try listening to this while doing anything creative (or even just take a walk) and there's a good chance the music can work its way in, invade your mind and the effect is pretty empowering. Hell, listening to this while walking through an old cemetery on a cold foggy day with an old manual camera and some black and white film was a hell of a lotta fun.
Recommended for Throbbing Gristle fans who may be turned off by how polished Psychic TV studio albums can be.

Hawaii- The Exotic Sounds of the Surfmen

I've bought a lot of bad Hawaii albums out of dollar bins, but when you find one like this it's all worth it. It's got that mind melting laziness of slow strumming and Hawaiian slide guitar, but these guys listened to Exotica, too. They come across like Budget Exotica (I could kind of tell by how cheaply this record was made that I had a good chance of liking it). Kind of like what Garage Rock was to the Kinks, but these guys were presumably looking up to Martin Denny with part stereotypical Hawaiian tunes, the other part Exotica. An all around great soundtrack for immobility.

Esquivel- Exploring New Sounds In Stereo (vinyl rip)

Another wonderful collection of wacky greats by the almighty Esquivel. If you like constant changes in instrumentation and sounds flying back and forth between the speakers, I assume you already know Esquivel, but if you don't please enjoy. You don't come across stuff like this often, unfortunately.
Contains the classics "Lazy Bones" and "Whatchamacallit" and plenty of "zoo zoo" lyrics.
Esquivel also never seems to get the respect he deserves as a pianist either. Fucking amazing.

Holiday In Cuba In Mambo Tempo by The Cuban Orchestra

I love these old Mambo records. They always change the atmosphere of the room, in a matter of seconds, to be more fun, lively, and lighthearted. The Mambo just sweeps my cares aside and I can simply enjoy myself for a while. Big rhythm and slightly off kilter melodies gotta try real hard to go wrong. Ever notice how often Fellini used Mambo in night club scenes and how well it worked?
And this record is probably my favorite that I've heard so far.
Great stuff.

Martin Denny- Quiet Village

It is a bit funny that Martin Denny's 6th album is titled, "Quiet Village," even though that single reached popularity before the first album, which it was also included on. At least they tacked it on to the 12 song album, rather than taking one of those tracks off to replace it. Easy way to sell more records, I guess.
Doesn't matter, though. This record should have been more than good enough to sell itself. Enough jungle calls, catchy tunes, and mind numbing/imagination inducing ambience for anyone. If you're in doubt, listen to "Tune From Rangoon." If you aren't into it, I don't know what to tell you.
See original liner notes below for more gushings.

Three Albums by Arthur Lyman

Albums: Hawaiian Sunset, Isle of Enchantment, and Taboo (CD copy, my vinyl skips a bit).

I think Arthur Lyman gets a bit overlooked in the world of Exotica, even if he had hits in the Top 10 in the past, Martin Denny and Les Baxter seem to get all the credit, not to say that they don't deserve it.
Lyman was the vibraphone player in Martin Denny's group for the first couple of albums, and in my opinion, Denny's music lost some of its exoticness when Lyman left and took those subdued moody vibes to his new group. There's something more primitive (intended as a compliment) about this group, it was only a 4 piece, but it's more than that. Their approach seems more artistic and slightly less for the tourists (both Denny and Lyman did tons of performing at Hawaiian hotels).
Another thing that gives these records an odd feel is that all Lyman's records were recorded in the Aluminum Dome at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel.
3 dreamily exotic LPs, and at least you downloaders don't have to break the mood to get up and flip the record...

All 3 albums in one file:

Echoes Of Vienna

Side one is a variety of Waltzes you'd hear on many other Vienna albums, but this is a bit more stripped down- just piano, guitar, and bass performed by the Belvedere Trio. Unfortunately the track listing on the record does not correspond to the order of the no tracklist for side one. Nice stuff.
Side two is an orchestral medley of, you guessed it, waltzes, this time by Viennese Symphonic Orchestra led by Franz Lehar. Good n' woozy.
Both sides are great background music for anything with a nice and easy pace.

The Best of Martin Denny

I'm sure all you hipsters and collector nerds turn your noses up at best of comps., but good music is good no matter how it comes. 12 great exotica tunes from 12 albums, plus his biggest hit "Quiet Village" is not on this LP, a nice touch. It still flows like one great record that can still provide a soundtrack to easily help you unwind and forget (attn: hipsters and collectors). No complaints from this grump!