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Sophisticated Voodoo Jazz of the 50's

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, May 15, 2018 01:25pm | Post a Comment

Mystery Skull

By Kai Wada Roath
Ambassador of Confusion Hill and host of the Super Shangri-La ShowRobert Drasnin, Voodoo

So, you just found a Mystic Skull board game with all the pieces at the swap-meet and you are having some friends coming over to play it before watching Val Lewton's 1943 classic, I Walked with a Zombie. You frustratingly find yourself digging through your vinyl vaults and cannot seem to find the right music to set the eerie atmosphere you desire. Let my red chicken foot charm point you the way to the records you seek...some for the music, others for their covers.

Robert Drasnin's 1959 album titled Voodoo, is truly superb. You can easily feel entranced from the music, luring your mind deep into a forbidden jungle while listening to "Chant of the Moon." If the stars are in alignment, you may be lucky enough to find this record on colored vinyl (I recently found a yellow one). Perhaps some of you may have even seen Robert Drasnin when he performed at the Tiki Oasis back in 2008.



Perez Prado's "Voodoo Suite" is the "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" of jungle jazz. From exotic drumming and primitive shouts and grunts to smooth jazz beats, this 23 minute piece makes you wish you were prowling on all fours like a tiger, hunting a scantly clad prey in the Jungle Rock Room at the Madonna Inn. Listen to it in its entirety, and if you stumble across this record in the wild do not hesitate in buying it. Pounce on it! In my humble opinion, this composition is a masterpiece.

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode with Tom Misch

Posted by Amoebite, March 27, 2018 12:10pm | Post a Comment

Tom Misch What's In My Bag? Amoeba Music

British singer/songwriter, producer, and DJ Tom Misch went shopping at Amoeba Hollywood recently and shared some of his favorite albums with us in our latest What's In My Bag? episode. "This is the first record I heard of John Mayer," he said of the 2006 album Continuum, "and it completely changed my musical career." Misch goes on to describe how Mayer influenced his own guitar playing. "I started playing guitar -- well, trying to play guitar like him -- and that's where kind of everything changed for me." 

While still in school, Misch began making hip-hop beats inspired by J. Dilla. He started posting them online in 2012 where they were discovered and sampled by up-and-coming rappers. He collaborated Tom Misch Geography with singer/songwriter Carmody for her Out to Sea EP in 2014. Next he released Beat Tape 1 and Beat Tape 2; the former featured a track called "Dilla Love," which received a nod from the late producer's mother. The Reverie EP followed in 2016.

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New Taboo: Recent Vinyl Releases for Exotica Enthusiasts

Posted by Kells, August 31, 2016 10:32pm | Post a Comment

Lounge lizard brothers and sisters, tiki torch-bearers, and any other Jazz/World/Oldies bin-combers craving an escape from the harsh realities of this cruel world: rejoice! A splash of freshly pressed exotic pu-pus for your easy listening pleasure platters has hit the shelves this Summer, with the quartet of new releases pictured above presenting an especially potent sonic swizzle of hi-fi reverie. So disable your rudder, lose the shoes, stir up a tipple or two and drift into the intoxicating lagoon of these "new" grooves.


V/A - Taboo: An Exploration into the Exotic World of Taboo Vol. 1 (Stag-O-Lee)

The first of a series dubbed Journey To The Centre Of The Song (each volume celebrating a singular tune by exploring a sampling of various recorded versions), this 10" contains nine genre-spanning interpretations of the popular standard "Taboo" (or "Tabou" or "Tabu") composed by Cuban musician Margarita Lecuona, a lady also responsible for the classic "Babalou". From Charles Blackwell's raucous "Surf'stramental" opener to the brassy cha-cha of Tito Rivera, and from the island rhythms of Cyril Diaz to Sylvia Mora's noir popcorn grind, all these and more buttoned up nicely by Arthur Lyman's own sensual evocation, nothing feels forbidden about the magic of examining these songs altogether or individually. In fact, it feels great to have them all in one place.



V/A - Voodoo Party Vol. 1 (University of Vice)

This recent release is actually a reissue of the first Voodoo Party compilation, long sought-after since being out of print for over a decade. It's return may also be in part due to the success of the most excellent Voodoo Party Vol. 2—the second volume in the series of occult-focused eccentricities compiled by music research gurus University of Vice (please, oh, please let there be a volume three). In any case, both enchanting volumes are chock full of enough nocturnal, ritualistic burners from Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Peru, Puerto Rico, the African continent, and the infernal beyond to make ones head spin. With song titles like "Zombie Jamboree", "El Diablo", and "Animal Concert In A Cemetery", expect something wild, something weird, something sensual, something sinister, and drums, baby, DRUMS! 



Eden Ahbez - Wild Boy: The Lost Songs Of Eden Ahbez (Bear Family)

Eden Ahbez—if ever there were a true mystic of the nebulous Exotica genre, it would be he. Be it a demo sung by Ahbez himself or a rare renditions by Eartha Kitt and Arthur Lyman, most of the "lost" songs gathered for this collection span the years between Ahbez's best known work, "Nature Boy" (an autobiographical song that scored a hit with Nat "King" Cole in 1948), and his lone 1960 solo album and cult/tiki collector's item Eden's Island. The insightful and  extensive liner notes by Brian Chidester flesh out Ahbez's somewhat foggy past and posits his lifestyle choices and creative expressions as a well-spring of the hippie movement and a plausible genesis for psychedelic music as we know it. Needless to say, and all novelty aside, this is essentially far out.



Elvis Presley - Way Down in the Jungle Room (RCA/Legacy)

While Elvis' last studio recording sessions may seem more than a tad removed from the above three LPs, it makes up for any lack of sonic similarity with a certain vibe imparted by its ambient provenance. Consider for a moment how this record might be received if it had been recorded, say, way down in the TV Room. It could sound the same, but dropping the needle on this collection "fly-on-the-wall" late night outtakes (at one point you can hear Elvis yelling for someone to shoot the phone off the wall or something) while the tikitastic Jungle Room album cover stares down at you with it's hulking and markedly empty Witco chair propping Presley's guitar on its arm, flanked by more Witco, tropical plants, a meadow of funky, and overgrown shag "grass" carpet hemmed with a cut stone, red-light waterfall wall, a distinct transportative quality is lent to the listening. That Elvis chose to render Graceland's Jungle Room into a recording studio says something about the man's moods and relaxation preferences, and I think anyone with piqued interest in the three records reviewed above can heartily recognize these leanings and savor the flavor of the particular atmosphere harnessed on this record. I'm no expert when it comes to late, late-era Elvis, but it seems to me that he and his players were really feeling this gig and living it up accordingly way down in the Jungle Room. Just browsing the photos included in the album artwork is intoxicating enough to induce delirium.
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