Close Your Eyes

Two weeks ago I featured a classic song of exotica jazz, and I mentioned that it was making something of a comeback. I find this music relaxing in the evenings when I’m reading.

Don Tiki is one of the groups exploring “neo exotica.” This is “Close Your Eyes” from the 1997 debut album, The Forbidden Sounds of Don Tiki.

South Seas fantasies beckon with the neo-exotica group, Don Tiki. They draw inspiration from the original Mid-Century masters of the exotica sound, Martin Denny, Arthur Lyman and Les Baxter and bring their evocative music into the 21st Century. In fact, Denny gave the band his seal of approval when he played on two tracks on their 1997 debut album, The Forbidden Sounds of Don Tiki. Further deepening Don Tiki’s authenticity is its percussionist and bird caller, Lopaka Colon, son of Augie Colon, who had the same role in Denny’s band.

Don Tiki is a creative collaboration of Lloyd “Fluid Floyd” Kandell and Kit “Perry Coma” Ebersbach. The band features Hawaii’s top musicians with cumulative experience ranging from jazz fusion to world beat to the Honolulu Symphony to Waikiki Showrooms.

Find more at the link above.

Parov Stelar

Parov Stelar (not his real name) is an Austrian musician/DJ who produces a type of music known as electro-swing, which is sort-of a blending of house, electronica, and jazz. I first ran across his song “Between the Machine” as it was used in an episode of NCIS: Los Angeles a number of years ago.

This is “The Speed Demon.” (Give it a 30 seconds or so, then it works into the jazz.) I’m told the 2nd song is more accessible.

This is “All Night,” a single released in 2014. It did fairly well on the charts in Europe.

I don’t care for a lot of the stuff he does, but some of it is fascinating. For those who are interested in the details, his given name is Marcus Füreder, and he produces music under a number of stage names.

Eight Beat Measure

Eight Beat Measure is the all-male A Capella group from the Rochester Institute of Technology. They are really quite good.

This is “Honor Him/Now We are Free” from their 2010 album No Safety Nets. The version on the album is a little more polished, but that version is not available on YouTube. (Find it on Pandora, or iTunes, and elsewhere.)

You might remember these songs (by a different artist) as separate songs from the 2000 film Gladiator.

What was up with hair in the 80s?

There were some strange things being done with hair in the 80s. And these guys weren’t even the worst offenders.

This is “Lies” from the Thompson Twins. It was the first single from the 1982 album Quick Step and Side Kick.

Something about the opening of this song makes me want to say, “It needs more cowbell.” This album was re-released in 2008 with a bunch of remixes added and some of the extended B-sides.

Because of the crazy way the music industry works in the US, this album was Side Kicks on this side of the Atlantic. I think it has to do with the complete lack of respect that the industry holds for its customers. (What is Quick Step?)

Arthur Lyman and Exotica Jazz

Exotica is a school of jazz that sought to recreate what suburban America of the 1950s thought about the South Pacific. Bird calls abound for some reason. Think Trader Vic’s, and drinks with odd names sporting little umbrellas (reminiscent of the beach, I suppose). It has experienced something of a renaissance since the late 1990s.

No one epitomized Exotica more than Arthur Lyman. This is “Taboo” from an album by the same name that was released in 1958.

As crazy as it seems, I’ve started listening to Exotica in the evenings when I’m reading, though mostly I listen to the more modern versions.

Sugarcane

A bit of quiet piano can be just the thing at the end of a long day. Plenty of places to find stuff like this. My usual evening relaxation music is served up by either Spotify, Pandora, Amazon or Google Play – depending on what I’m looking for. (I think this is from Spotify, but no guarantees.)

This is “Sugarcane” by Ana Olgica. And unlike most of the music I like, that’s all I know about the song and the artist. But I hope to hear more from her – and learn more about her – in the future.

Battle Flag

This is one of those songs, where the pedigree is a bit confused from the late 1990s. “Battle Flag” was recorded in 1997 by Pigeonhed (on their album The Full Sentence.) This is the 1998 remix by Lo Fidelity Allstars officially titled “Battle Flag – featuring Pigeonhed” which was released as a single and included in their album Flash Bulb Emergency Overflow Cavalcade of Remixes. This remix was popular on alternative rock radio of the day.

It has also been used in TV shows ranging from Smallville to the Sopranos. It was in the films Coyote Ugly, Mean Machine, and Very Bad Things. (And probably others as well.) Used in trailers for different movies, etc.