Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
The Exciting Sounds of Martin Denny: Exotica/Exotica, Vol. I & II
Genres: World Music, Pop
These early Denny creations cover his more wildly "exotic" career phase. The first album, presented in its original "Spectra-Sonic" mono, includes the hit title track in its entire eerie swamp-varmint splendor. Other sta... more »
These early Denny creations cover his more wildly "exotic" career phase. The first album, presented in its original "Spectra-Sonic" mono, includes the hit title track in its entire eerie swamp-varmint splendor. Other standouts are the dreamy xylophone on "Lotus Land" and the absolutely wacky "Love Dance," which sounds more like an ornithologist's orgy. The second album, in stereo, gets more intricate and oddly romantic. The best is the opener, "Shoshu Night Serenade," with its ghostly textures and the persistent ringing of bells that suggest the carriage of a typewriter. The Denny arrangement of "Ebb Tide" is also a stunner. This double volume gives listeners a clear picture of how Denny was interested less in an "authentic" Hawaii and more intrigued by an imaginary and often surreal geography. --Joseph Lanza
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Underappreciated by the young and hip
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Admittedly, this is not a CD that you can keep on constant repeat for days, but there's just ISN'T any better lounge music for the first hour or so of that party you're throwing in your shiny, new (or beat-up, old) apartment. I heard this featured on NPR about a year ago and ran out to buy it; when I told my father that I was listening to "fabulous, cheesy tiki music" he groaned...but when I said "Martin Denny" he said--wait, that's not tiki music! That's great stuff! And it is: it hasn't registered on the retro-hip radar in the way that, say, bossa nova or swing recently have, but it's better for that, as no one has started coating it with that tiresome patina of ironic chic. Still, it shouldn't be taken as totally straight either--there was always a tongue-in-cheek quality to the music: the first track is a tune that became an unexpected hit when Denny's combo was playing a Hawaiian club and decided to throw in some tropical animal noises, just for kicks. If you hate the very idea of the fifties and are made more suspicious than enthusiastic by the news that Exotica was at the top of the charts for much of 1959, forget about it--but otherwise figure out how to make yourself a mai-tai, turn down the lights and enjoy."
The first and best mood music
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The rage nowadays is "mood music" and "relaxation music". Well folks this is the one(in my opinion) who started it all. Yes, there were others who got into the "exotic" and "hawiian" music(Les Baxter was one), but this stuff was truely EXOTIC. Bird whistles, vibes, piano, rasp, horse jaw. Horse Jaw! Yes folks, when I heard about that I just had to get the album. They take the lower jaw of a horse, sometimes other animals, dry it well, clean it up well, wire the teeth in loosly and then paint it up. Holding it in one hand you hitit with the heel of the other hand to get a very distinctive "rattle". I spent many an hour reading the Ring Trilogy, Isaac Asimov, and james Bond novels to the music which hits just about every emotion and tempo you can find. Later on , I got the second album. Loved it too. When I saw the CD I snapped it up. Don't worry about the critics nitpicking the "crispness" of sound as opposed to the "ambience" of the old L.P. I have both and will take the CD any day. If you want "mood music" get this one!!!"
Torchy, tinkly tiki tunes from one of the greats
jon sieruga | Redlands, CA USA | 01/24/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A shimmering bag of jingle-jangle from Martin Denny, a leader of the exotica mood music and certainly one not above a little humor. He's not as colorful(or campy)as Les Baxter, but he's not rigid either, and some of these beautiful melodies waft in and out of your consciousness like a humid island breeze. It is escapism and a travelogue, hypnotizing and also lulling. It's as easy to fall under Denny's island spells as it is to fall gently asleep listening to this 2-fer. But, in moderation, it produces tingly aural excitement."