Rhum Rhapsodies & Other Exotic Delights Numero
May 25. It was a musical cocktail born in a marketing meeting: Two parts easy listening, one part jazz, a healthy dollop of conga drums, a sprinkling of bird calls, and a pinch of textless choir. Exotica! The soundtrack for a mythical air conditioned Eden, packaged for midcentury, tiki torch-wielding armchair safariers. Be it mosquito-bitten torch singers, landlocked surf quartets, fadchasing jazz combos, mad genius band leaders, D-list actors, or a middle aged loner programming bird calls into a Hammond, Exotica was always more concerned with what geography might sound like over who was conducting. Captured across three albums are 48 ( 54 on CD) curious examples of the short-lived genre’s reach, each summoning their own sonic visions of Shangri La, bringing their versions of the Pacific, Africa, and the Orient to the hinterlands of America. Technicolor Paradise is where one makes it, after all.