Tuesday, 25 November 2008

esoterica and exotica

Just to confirm my role at Friday's Yuck 'n Yum launch.

I've been asked to play a "lounge" set from my laptop, and will be doing what I call an "esoterica and exotica" set. This will be very different from the usual NEON playlist, and will feature highlights from my digital archive of easy-listening, exotica, soundtracks and 50s and 60s pop.

I've had an interest in these sounds for a long time, and by dipping in occasionally over the years I've eventually built up a decent enough selection. What you will hear will be a melange of classic exotica fare from the likes of Martin Denny and Les Baxter along with non-exotica electronics pioneer Delia Derbyshire, producer Joe Meek, and some 1960s Moog demonstration records.

Exotica and the Moog albums are of interest in that they contain all sorts of otherworldly sounds. These albums would have been used by 1950s Suburban Man to show off the new modern hi-fi to his friends, and Exotica describes the non-native, pseudo experience of Oceania. It's an ersatz imagining of the tropical, and if you strip away all the trappings (the kitschy fashions, the cocktails and the hairstyles) you're left with a sound that is genuinely strange and marvellous.

Exotica has of course come back into vogue in recent years. Nurse With Wound and Throbbing Gristle famously wore its influence on their sleeves, and Optimo made a short Exotica mix available on their website that is well worth digging out if you can still find it. On Friday you can expect a musical journey that, while billed as "laying down the smooth", is likely to be fairly wonky and subject to a fair few surprising twists and turns.

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