Music Consumption in the MP3 Era
Music Consumption in the MP3 Era

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Name: uao
Location: California

uao is also a contributor to Blogcritics.org, Rhapsody Radish. and FIQL.com.

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A Sampling of Articles, Reviews, and Essays:

Feel free to dig through the Deep Freeze for more, but stuff dated before mid-March 2005 is still formative and impressionistic, and not really worth the effort.

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I grew up reading Robert Christgau, Village Voice, and Lester Bangs, Creem, Punk, various others.

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Note: the copyrighted audio material on this site is for listening only, and is not downloadable. It is provided as illustrations to the articles, and to interest people in the legal purchase of these artists' material. Any copyright holder who would like their material removed should contact me, and I'll remove it.

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Monday, March 07, 2005
 

Jungle Madness

Another noteworthy obituary to report.

Although the career of "Tiki Sound" (also known as "Exotica") pioneer Martin Denny falls squarely outside of rock music, his rediscovery in the 90's by hipster "cocktail" bands like Combustible Edison, Stereolab, The Moog Cookbook, Love Jones and others merit him a salute at Freeway Jam.
Martin Denny: Exotica (1957)
Denny, 93, passed away in Honolulu last Wednesday.

Denny's original Exotica album was released in 1957. A fusion of Asian, South Pacific, American jazz, Latin American, and classical music, he created a lush, tropical sound that, in retrospect, almost screams 1950's Populux culture.

Denny came by his influences honestly; after studying piano as a child, he toured South America with a six piece band, soaking up atmosphere and musical vocabulary. After a stint in the Air Force during World War II, he studied music at the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music.
Martin denny: Forbidden Island (1958)
He relocated to Hawaii in 1954 to work at Don the Beachcomber's restaurant at Waikiki Beach. It was at Don's that he met vibraphone player Arthur Lyman, and bass player John Kramer, with whom he formed a jazz trio. Bongo player Augie Colon joined in 1956, and Denny began writing music to highlight Colon's role. Much of this music drew upon his experience in South America and the Pacific Islands.

Importantly, Denny was a big experimenter with stereo in the early days. His records, full of jungle sound effects, bird cries, and exotic instruments were employed to exploit this new technology.

Although the Exotica craze was short lived, Denny continued releasing albums right through the 60's, never abandoning his experimentation. He even dabbled in early electronic music. He continued to tour sporadically through the end of the 90's.
Martin Denny: Hypnotique (1958)
While his albums were the antithesis of cool in the 60's, fodder for remainder bins, and derided as campy, corny, or kitschy, he nontheless enjoyed a renaissance of interest as his original LP's were reissued in the 90's. Combustible Edison and Stereolab are perhaps his most well known followers; Combustible Edison serving up tongue in cheek conventional lounge music, and Stereolab taking a more electronic, club-oriented route.

Now that he's been rediscovered, it's not as uncool to check out his albums. Indeed, they make excellent background music for your next barbecue or tiki party. Hypnotique, with its mix of Japanese and Indian instruments (including a sitar), and its exquisite cover, is often considered his finest. He was a true innovator, and will be missed.

Combustible Edison: I, Swinger (1994)   Sterolab:  Mars Audiac Quintet (1994)



     

 
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