exotica Archive

Combo Chimbita: The (Tropical) Future is Now

New York City-based quartet Combo Chimbita plays its music in the present, but the band claims to live in the future. With an exotic and intriguing style of music the group calls tropical futurism, Combo Chimbita melds the most rewarding elements of so-called world music with an urban sensibility. The group is embarking on its

Album Review: Attilio Mineo — Man in Space with Sounds

A breathlessly earnest announcer welcomes the listener to the record as a wonderfully evocative orchestra creates an instrumental backdrop meant to evoke outer space. With the help of some gee-whiz electronic studio effects – heaps of reverb, percussion that suggests a much more accessible Edgard Varese – the listener is transported to a sonic world

Hundred Word Reviews for August 2014, Part 1

Some familiar names and some true obscurities are highlighted in this, the first of five sets of five capsule reviews. This week I’ll review 25 albums, arbitrarily limiting myself to exactly one hundred words each. Gene Rains – Far Away Lands: The Exotic Music of Gene Rains Exotica – that early 60s genre featuring wide-panned

Book Review: Joe Meek’s Bold Techniques

People like sensational stories. It’s an unfortunate fact, because the public’s focus on the superficial and lurid often obscures a deeper, nuanced story beneath. Barry Cleveland is not one of those people who is satisfied – or even interested – in the shallow, sensational stuff. Thank goodness for that, because his book Joe Meek’s Bold

Album Review: Sun Ra — A Space Odyssey

As Kris Needs notes in his excellent and detailed liner notes for A Space Odyssey: From Birmingham to the Big Apple – The Quest Begins, Sun Ra was a practitioner of “garage jazz.” Today (May 22 2014) would have been the 100th birthday of the man born Herman Blount, though once he rechristened himself Sun

Album Review: Various Artists — Los Nuggetz: ’60s Garage & Psych from Latin America

During the first four or five years of this new century, there existed online a thriving collector/trading community, dedicated to sharing and disseminating obscure, forgotten and occasionally never-known-about-in-the-first place music from the 1960s. Operating right on the edge of copyright law (well, on the wrong side of it, if truth be told), these collectors shared

Album Review: Vermouth — RetroFuture Pop Exotica

Being of a certain age, I remember the short-lived exotica revival of the nineties. If you blinked, you might’ve missed it: for a brief few moments in 1994, the pre-Beatles hi-fi-centric craze was all the rage. The fleeting revival had as its exemplar a band named after a cocktail, Combustible Edison. Fronted by a female