The Markko Polo Adventurers ‎– Orienta (1959)

We’ve already got a little good share of Exotica here in the ‘IM’, you can easily go for Yma, Russ, and Dominic for your exquisite delight! But I think we should talk a little bit more about it since its one of my fav genres, always with some magical cover and a fantastic vibe from faraway, today’s album is no different so let’s get a ticket to the (wild) East.

Let’s go to our history:

Exotica is a form of easy-listening lounge music that draws upon world music, but it doesn’t aim for authentic replication. Instead, exotica’s primary concern is lightweight entertainment, gathering readily identifiable ethnic sounds into a smooth, easily digested pop form. The music typically conjures up images of exotic foreign tourist destinations geared toward white Americans, and in that sense, it’s sort of the equivalent of a pre-packaged resort vacation: fun, inauthentic, and safely familiar. (!)

1958 Fire Goddess

Exotica is usually arranged for standard orchestras, with instrumentation added according to the location being evoked (ethnic percussion, string instruments, etc.); some exotica also borrows the otherworldly sound effects that define the space-age pop style. The Pacific, the Caribbean, Latin America, Brazil, and Africa are among exotica’s most popular regional musical sources, major exotica artists include Les Baxter, Martin Denny, Arthur Lyman, Eden Ahbez, Gene Rains, Esquivel, Yma Sumac and many more.

Let’s go to our artist:

Orienta was the work of three music industry professionals with a history of involvement in exotica and easy listening music. Producer Simon Rady was coming off the huge success of The Music from Peter Gunn, which spent 10 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s album chart, and won the inaugural Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1959. Associate producer Michael H. Goldsen was one of the industry leaders in popularizing Hawaiian music and was later inducted into the (legendary) Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame.

Debra Paget in Fritz Lang’s The Indian Tomb

The album was arranged and conducted by Gerald Fried, a Juilliard School-trained oboist who later went on to fame as a composer of music for motion pictures and television, including the 1960s series Star TrekThe Man from U.N.C.L.E., and Gilligan’s Island.

Orienta was an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of exotica music in the late 1950s. The genre’s popularity peaked in 1959 as Martin Denny’s 1957 album Exotica spent five weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s album chart. The album was recorded in stereo and was designed to appeal to the growing popularity of albums demonstrating the new technology. It features a wide assortment of woodwind and rhythm instruments as the liner notes describe a recording studio filled with as many as 25 percussion instruments.

Sandy Warner, 1959

Let’s go to our album:

The album’s liner notes stated that:

”The music resembles the dreams of an imaginative person who has fallen asleep during a ‘Dr. Fu Manchu’ movie on television, with vignettes that combine the sounds of the East with the wit of the West; the charm of the Orient with the humor of the Occident.”

A lost lounge gem from the RCA catalog, with a dreamy exotica feeling, Gerald Fried arranged and conducted this faux (studio) group, and his overall approach has lots of sweeping woodwinds and percussion, similar to the great Les Baxter work on Capitol during the period. The tracks have a pronounced Eastern feel including original compositions and adaptations from Rimsky-Korsakov, Harry Warren, and Vernon Duke.

The ‘IM’ highlights are Rain in Rangoon and Mountain High, Valley Low.

Tracks Include:

A1 Song Of India-Beggars’ Procession
Arranged By: Gerald Fried
Composed By: Rimsky-Korsakoff

A2 Yokahama Ferryboat
Composed By: Leon Pober

A3 Rain In Rangoon
Composed By: Vèrnon Duke

A4 Madam Sloe Gin’s
Composed By: Leon Pober

A5 The Girl Friend Of A Whirling Dervish
Composed By – Dubin, Warren, Mercer

A6 Mountain High, Valley Low
Composed By: Bernard Hanighen, Raymond Scott

B1 Scheherazade
Arranged By: Gerald Fried
Composed By: Rimsky-Korsakoff

B2 Limehouse Blues
Composed By: D. Furber, P. Braham

B3 Night Of The Tiger
Composed By: Leon Pober

B4 Nagasaki
Composed By: H. Warren, M. Dixon

B5 Train To Ranchipur
Composed By: Gerald Fried

B6 Runaway Rickshaw
Composed By: Leon Pober

Credits

Arranged By: Gerald Fried
Conductor: Gerald Fried
Co-producer (Associate): Michael H. Goldsen
Producer: Simon Rady
Recorded By (Engineer): Thorne Nogar

Notes

Recorded in Hollywood, California, May 15, 21 and 31 and June 6, 1958

Gerald Fried, Alive and Kicking

Dominic Frontiere and His Orchestra – Pagan Festival: An Exotic Love Ritual For Orchestra (1959)

Together with Yma Sumac’s exquisite records, Russ Garcia’s Fantastica, and the unknown The Markko Pollo Adventures self titled album, our today entry comes with great passion, a personal favorite in the Exotica and Space Age Pop universe. You can check a dossier about the subject here, and with our last entries highlighted on top! We believe that the milestone works from Martin Denny and famous arranger Les Baxter are truly amazing, though due to the high commercial appeal and large number of releases, the musical developments became to dilute throughout the years, climaxing with the death of the genre in the mid-60’s.

folder cópia

Together with Yma Sumac’s exquisite records, Russ Garcia’s Fantastica, and the unknown The Markko Pollo Adventures self titled album, our today entry comes with great passion, a personal favorite in the Exotica and Space Age Pop universe. You can check a dossier about the subject here, and with our last entries highlighted on top! We believe that the milestone works from Martin Denny and famous arranger Les Baxter are truly amazing, though due to the high commercial appeal and large number of releases, the musical developments became to dilute throughout the years, climaxing with the death of the genre in the mid60’s.

Nevertheless, expect to encounter ‘Hypnotique’ and ‘The Passions’ here soon!

Let’s go to our artist:

Dominic Frontiere
Dominic Frontiere

Dominic Frontiere (17 June 1931, New Haven, Connecticut) grew up in a musical family, learning several instruments before adopting the accordion as his main focus. He proved a prodigy, and was travelling to New York for lessons with accordion virtuoso Joseph Biviano at 7 and performing solo at Carnegie Hall at the age of 12. From an early age, its interest in music went beyond just performing, though, and he studied classical music, arranging, and composition through high school and after!

He joined Horace Heidt’s big band in 1949, replacing accordion star Dick Contino and becoming lead arranger as well. He left Heidt in 1952 and moved to Hollywood, where he studied with Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco at UCLA and with violinist and studio conductor Felix SlatkinFrontiere was then, taken under the wing of Alfred Newman, music director at 20th Century-Fox studios, and his brother, famous film composer Lionel Newman, who soon had him working on a variety of scoring jobs.

Alfred Newman
Alfred Newman

Frontiere experimented several novelties from his studio work, one was an album for Columbia, Pagan Festival, that is now recalled fondly as one of the prime examples of true exotica. One suspects that he ran Yma Sumac’s albums for a few spins while conceiving on the pieces on this work, which feature titles as ‘Jaguar God’Venus Girl’, with subtitles recalling Mayan or Inca language, as Ixtab, and Tampu-Anca.

Dominic has concentrated on composing for films/television since the early ’60s. His scoring credits include such films as Hang ‘Em High, Incubus, Chisum, The Train Robbers, Brannigan, and The Stunt Man. On television, he composed the theme for the aliens-are-among-us series, The Invaders, science fiction The Outer Limits, and also The Fugitive, The Flying Nun, BrandedMovin’ Onamongst many others.

1968 Film Poster
1968 OST

Along with Art Van Damme and Johnny Hamlin, he ranks among the leading (and only) jazz accordionists, with an active career until the ’90s. Recently many of its soundtracks were available in cd re-releases, where you can check it out here!

Let’s go to our album:

The liner notes on the back cover spoke of the music’s “interpretation of ancient Inca rituals, superstitions, and the romance and mysteries of their colorful civilization“, but the blending of musical styles was not limited to that of the ancient Latin American culture (if anyone knew what that would sound like!). Frontiere let his imagination run wild, and he brought in sounds from the South Pacific to Eastern Europe, e.g.

1963/64 OST
1963/64 OST

So, here a female choir wafted in and out along with string sections, brasses, and reeds, creating a patchwork quilt that somehow held together. Frontiere‘s music charmed like an entertaining Hollywood score for a movie set in some faraway place, it may not have been historically accurate, but it was a lot of fun to listen to, jouir!

The ‘IM’ highlights are House of Dawn (Paccari-Tampu) and Venus Girl (IX-Koben).

Lastly, this is an exclusive release, เดินทางที่ดี!

Tracks Include:

A1 Festival

A2 House of Dawn (Paccari-Tampu)

A3 Temple of Suicide (Ixtab)

A4 Moon Goddess (Ixchel)

A5 Time of Sunshine (Yaxkin)

A6 Goddess of Love (X-Tabai)

B1 House of Pleasure (Tampu-Anca)

B2 The Harvest (Zax)

B3 Corn Festival (Zabacil Than)

B4 God of Seasons (Kukulkan)

B5 Jaguar God (Balam)

B6 Venus Girl (IX-Koben)

Credits

  • Artwork: Irene Trivas
  • Composed, Conductor: Dominic Frontiere

Columbia ‎– CL 1273

Beltrane Fire Festival
Beltrane Fire Festival

Daniela Casa – Societa’ Malata (1975)

capa cópiaLibrary music, also known as production or stock music, was originally recorded as fodder for media projects that needed readymade soundtrack cues. The tracks were usually brief instrumentals, typically no more than a minute or two in length, and often adopted whatever sounds were popular at the time. As a result, they serve as wonderful snapshots of the various musical eras in which they were laid down, from breezy easy listening and mellow mood to lethal funk jams and Moog noodlings.

These releases were not available to the general public and were chiefly distributed within media production circles. Free of the commercial pressure to produce hits, it was not uncommon for artists to abandon conventional song structures and immerse themselves into it. Even though it was supposed to be background music, a lot of this stuff is quite musically imaginative and makes for enjoyable listening on its own!

Let’s go to our music:

Alessandro Alessandroni
Alessandro Alessandroni (Braen)

Unlike popular and classical music publishers, who typically own less than 50 percent of the copyright in a composition, production music libraries own all copyrights of their music, thus, it can be licensed freely without the composer’s permission.

Library music composers and session performers typically work anonymously and have rarely become known outside their professional circles. In recent years some veteran composers, performers, and arrangers such as Alan Hawkshaw, John Cameron, and Keith Mansfield have achieved cult status as a result of a new interest in library music of the ’60s and ’70s, notably the beat/electronica cues recorded for KPM British label.

Suzanne Ciani
Suzanne Ciani

The Italian library scene from the ’70s is certainly the most popular and extensive of the ‘genre’, recently praised by worldwide labels, Dj’s and the blogosphere.

Soundtrack composers and arrangers such as Alessandro Alessandroni, Piero Umiliani, Bruno Nicolai, Suzanne Ciani, are just some of the greats from the period!

Let’s go to our artist:

Daniela Casa (February 6, 1944 – 28 July 1986), was the daughter of a builder of boats, that graduated from Art Schoolduring this time Daniela studied chant and guitar with Maestro Claudio de Angelis. She was discovered in 1963 and put under contract by Fonit label, participating in the same year at the Grand Prix (RAI TV show), in which she presents his own version of Senza Fine, the famous song by Gino Paoli.

Daniela Casa, 1964
Daniela Casa, 1964

The following year Daniela released her second 45 single, also by Fonit.

In 1965, at the Piper Club in Rome, she forms the duo Dany & Gepy with Giampiero Scalamogna, specializing in the revival of covers of soul and r&b. Along the 70’s she devoted herself to composition, writing the famous hits Regolarmente, engraved by Mina, and Dimmi Cosa Aspetti Ancora, performed by Dominga. Then, Uomo became the theme song of the television program Storie di Donneat the same time she married the musician Remigio Ducros and in 1972, Valentina Ducros was born.

Thenceforth, she develops several instrumental/library albums whose recording career lasted from 1963 through to her untimely death from cancer in 1988. (RIP)

Let’s go to our album:

1971

A genuine pioneer of experimental pop music, electronics, Giallo jazz and even heavy drone-rock jams, her elusive and infectious music joins the dots and loops between other Italian female electronic composers such as Giulia Alessandroni, Doris Norton, and Suzanne Ciani, retaining one of the most diverse composing styles of an advanced mechanical musician. Originally designed for use in Italian thrillers, nature documentaries, educational projects, and commercial installations.

I’m not an ardent fan of Library music, but this wonder recently re-released on vinyl has really poked me from the very first second. Daniela’s aural reflection of the wickedness of humanity and decay of our world delivers a multi-layered musical landscape that remains as vibrant and authentic today as they did 35 years ago!

Piero Umiliani Experiements
Piero Umiliani Experiments

Lastly, this is another exclusive release, godere di questa meraviglia, sì?!

The ‘IM’ highlights are Strade Vuote and Occultismo.

Bon Vwayaj!

Tracks Include:

A1 Ignoto

A2 Strade Vuote

A3 Pericolo

A4 Angoscia

A5 Fabbrica

A6 Oppressione

B1 Esoda

B2 Vizio

B3 Occultismo

B4 Noia

B5 Dittatura

Deneb ‎– DNB 0116

Suspiria's Japanese Poster
Suspiria’s Japanese Poster

Tafo Brothers – Plugged in Pakistani Pops (2009)

foto cópia

The history of Pakistan film industry is interspersed with many vicissitudes. Starting almost from a scratch soon after the political division of the Sub-continent (1947), it gradually progressed to achieve self-reliance and prosperity, and a time came when it could proudly and successfully compete with quality films made across the border in India, matching them in (almost) all departments of cinematography.

The golden era of Pakistan cinema was the period between the ’60s and ’70s, although a number of good movies had already been produced in Lahore studios during the second half of the ’50s. A large number of dedicated movie-makers, who had made names during their stay in Mumbai, like producer-directors Nazir, Shaukat Hussain Rizvi and WZ Ahmad (their actress-wives Swaran Lata, Noor Jahan, and Neena); directors Nazir Ajmeri, Luqman, S Fazli and Masud Parvez.

Noor Jahan
Noor Jahan

And lastly, play-actors of the caliber of Shah Nawaz, Shakir, Alauddin, Charlie, Ghauri, Himaliyawala, Sadiq Ali, Shameem, Najma, and Ragni contributed to the evolution of Pakistan film industry during the formative years of the new state.

Lollywood ranks among the top twenty film producing nations with an average of 60 full-length feature films per year. Lollywood should take pride in achieving two distinct accolades. The first relates to Noor Jehan, also known as ‘Melody Queen’, she is the country’s most celebrated singer and actress, enjoying popularity in a career spanning about sixty years! Followed by actor Sultan Rahi was yet another phenomenon with a total number of 670 films, playing key roles in 525 films in a period of almost forty years between 1956 to 1995, averaging 16.75 films a year!

Nayyar Sultana
Nayyar Sultana (Malka-i- Jazbaat – Queen of Sentiments)

In spite of all, almost all Pakistani films cater to the local market and no serious effort has been made to broaden the audience base of its films or to enter these at international festivals. Very little, therefore, is known or heard about Lollywood outside the country, the indifference and timidity as evinced by this industry have a lot to do with the peculiar history of the (difficult) evolution of cinema in Pakistan.

The strategy of prolonged protectionism has failed to solve its main problems, along with the loss of East Pakistan territory, the inception of television, and the infiltration of non-artistic financiers, who had no or little background, either in the arts, or business. Consequently, senior film-makers, directors and composers went into voluntary exile and the industry was taken over by rich people who invested money for purposes other than artistic ends, much based only on profits.

These factors contributed to the ultimate decline of Pakistan film industry. (!)

Nimmi (Nawab Banoo)
Nimmi (Hindustani Vamp)

Let’s go to our artist:

As leading exponents of Lahore’s vibrant film industry, the Brothers Tafo gave Lollywood its first rock group in the form of expanded Sextet commonly known as Tafo or Taffoo to Punjabi and Urdu listeners. Mostly instrumental in composition, the sibling writing team emerged in 1970 providing incidental music and sonic variations for Lollywood love stories, with equivalence to the works of RD Burman, Mr. M.Ashraf or Sohail Rana. They would enjoy over a decade of film scoring and musical experimentation at the hi-tech EMI funded recording studios in Lahore.

Echo-plexes, primitive drum machines, analogue synths, fuzz pedals and such, provided many mundane film-scenes with playful/infectious freak-rock courtesy of these uber-legends who were the first Lollywood group to record their own LP!

Tafo Soundtrack
Tafo 70’s Soundtrack

Let’s go to our album:

The Tafo Brothers were let loose in the EMI studios in Lahore and were seemingly intent on playing every keyboard, stringed instrument and sound effect in the place. All tracks overflow with ideas, constantly shifting mood and sound as though played by these hyperactive geniuses. A delightful mix of Eastern grooves, vintage electronics, psych, and pop combined with a half-ton of charm and a dash of wit.

Once again, this entry must thank the work of Hindustani Vinyl and splendid releases from Finders Keepers, re-discovering Lollywood scene, with its spaced out and funky grooves. This amalgamation of sounds may be leftover in Pakistan cinema nowadays, but we’ll be alert for more of these mighty artists, as Tafo Khan and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan works, be in touch, and Maayo Nga Biyahe!

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

The ‘IM’ highlights are Bijli Bhari Hai and Tere Siwa Dunya Men.

Tracks Include:

A1 Yeh Aaj Mujh Ko

A2 Tut Tooro Tooro Tara Tara

A3 Oh My Love

A4 Bura Honda Juwariyan Da

A5 Par Kahin Aankh Laraee

A6 Bijli Bhari Hai

B1 Dilon Man Laee

B2 To Shamae-Mohabbat

B3 Mera Mehboob Hai Tu

B4 Lakh Karo Inkar

B5 Tere Siwa Dunya Men

B6 Munda Shahr Lahore Da

Credits

Finders Keepers’ Disposable Music library imprint.

Disposable Music ‎– DiM001

Neelam Valley
Neelam Valley

Russ Garcia & His Orchestra – Fantastica (1958)

capa cópiaAs we previously approached on Yma Sumac’s first entry, on the very birth of the genre knows as Exotica, today we’ll recap that and add a new genre: space-age pop!

Space-age pop is a music genre associated with Mexican and American composers and songwriters in the Space Age of the ’50s and ’60s. It is also called bachelor pad music or lounge music. It was inspired by the spirit of those times, an optimism based on the strong post-war economy, technology boom, and excitement about humanity’s early forays into space. Although there is no specific album, date, or year when the genre was born, producer Irwin Chusid identifies its heyday as roughly 1954 to 1963, from the dawn of high-fidelity (hi-fi) to the arrival of the Beatles.

Space Escapade, 1958
Space Escapade, 1958

There are several styles that can be recognized as an influence: classical composers like Ravel, Debussy or Stravinsky; the big bands of the ’40s; and different exotic styles, such as Samba, Latin, and Calypso Jazz. It is also related to Exotica and lounge music and may be regarded as a precursor to space music. (!)

Populated with the outcasts from other well-established genres, Space Age Pop is full of brilliant, bizarre, and exciting sounds, which are particularly striking to ears accustomed to the stereotypes that populate the more familiar genres.

Juan García Esquivel
Juan García Esquivel

Let’s go back to Exotica:

The strictest definition limits exotica to the imitations of Polynesian, Afro-Caribbean, and Hawaiian music that were produced by Les Baxter and others from the mid-1950s to the very early ’60s. There were two primary strains of this kind of exotica: Jungle and Tiki. The jungle was definitely a Hollywood creation, with its roots in Tarzan movies or W.H. Hudson’s novel, Green Mansions. Les Baxter was the king of jungle exotica and spawned a host of imitators while opening the doors for a few more genuine articles such as Chaino, Thurston Knudson, and Guy Warren.

Ritual of the Savage, 1951
Ritual of the Savage, 1951

Tiki was introduced with Martin Denny’s Waikiki nightclub combo cum jungle noises cover of Baxter’s ‘Quiet Village’, although Denny’s vibe player, Arthur Lyman, soon became the style’s most representative artist. Tiki rode a wave of popularity in the late ’50s and early ’60s marked by the entrance of Hawaii as the 50th state in 1959 and the introduction of Tiki hut cocktail bars and restaurants around the United States!

Martin Denny's Group
Martin Denny’s Group

Let’s go to our artist:

Russel Garcia (12 April, 1916 – 19 November, 2011) attended at San Francisco State University and then studied composition (with Castelnuovo-Tedesco) before going to work as a professional arranger and composer. He worked with Horace Heidt and Al Donahue before settling in LA to work with a theatre orchestra. He then moved to studio work, first NBC radio and later with Warner Brothers, Disney, and others.

He freelanced around labels, working with singers such as Anita O’Day and Frances Faye as well as several mainstream jazz artists. He also wrote scores for films such as ‘The Time Machine’ and ‘Atlantis’ and contributed music to the television series ‘Rawhide’ and ‘The Virginian’. In the mid-’60s, he wrote several original works for Stan Kenton’s ‘Neophonic’ orchestra. He also published a book on arranging and orchestration that’s still considered a primary text. (!)

Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald & Russ Garcia
Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald & Russ Garcia (Porgy & Bess)

Let’s go to our album:

Fantastica remains the gold standard by which all outer space exotica records are judged, composed and conducted by Russ Garcia, the album is a marvel of sound and structure, brilliantly evoking the music of the cosmos via revolutionary studio techniques, cinematic arrangements, and innovative electronic elements!

Created in tandem with Liberty Records‘ chief engineer, Ted Keep, Fantastica bears little resemblance to conventional earthly music: alongside traditional instruments like woodwinds, harp, and percussion is a series of electronic devices and effects, including a sine wave generator that creates treble and bass tones of almost inhuman extremes. Conjuring horrific images of alien attack (The Monsters of Jupiter), natural disaster (Nova), and chilling isolation (The Lost Souls of Saturn) that articulate the collective unconsciousness of humankind, a true masterpiece!

The Maestro
The Maestro

The ‘IM’ Highlights are Venus and Frozen Neptune. (this is an exclusive rip)

Summing up, this is my Top 3 of the whole genre, an atemporal Lp, nothing appealing or stereotypical as some mentioned during our entry, startle yourself!

Приятно пътуване!

Tracks Include:

A1 Into Space

A2 Nova (Exploding Star)

A3 Lost Souls of Saturn

A4 Monsters of Jupiter

A5 Water Creatures of Astra

A6 Venus

B1 Red Sand of Mars

B2 Goofy People of Phobos

B3 Volcanoes of Mercury

B4 Birth of a Planet

B5 Frozen Neptune

B6 Moon Rise

Credits

  • Arranged, Composed: Russ Garcia
  • Artwork (Cover Design): Garrett-Howard
  • Effects, Electronics, Engineer: Ted Keep
  • Producer: Simon Jackson

Notes

Spectra-Sonic-Sound the ultimate in transistorized stereophonic hi-fidelity sound.

Liberty ‎– LST 7001

Jane Fonda’s Barbarella