V/A - Technicolor Paradise
The Numero Group consistently sheds light on obscure, lesser known, or under appreciated moments throughout the history of 20th century music. They continue this tradition with their latest box set; Technicolor Paradise: Rum Rhapsodies & Other Exotic Delights. If its title hasn't made it clear already, Numero has set its sights on the bizarre mutation that is exotica. The concept of the genre is about as artificial as it gets – American Anglo Saxon music producers manufacturing a false and often contrived image of foreign cultures solely for the purpose of profit. A musical counterpoint to the boom in consumer culture of the 50s and early 60s. However once the ball was rolling, and a market had began to show itself, eccentric creatives began to realize that it was open season with stylized tropicalia experimentation. Seeing is simply not believing with this collection as exotica is typically synonymous with muzak, but once you dig into this collection it's hard to stop. It's three discs of basically unknown groups and session musicians all reaching for the same goal of creating a mood so visceral that you feel as if you are somewhere you are not. A place that only exists in the imagination. Numero has plunged the depths and found the deepest cuts that lay to rest the notion that exotica is / was a farce. Although its inception was laced with insincerity, there are exceptions to the rule and this is a box full of them. Tracks crystalized with tremolo guitars and tympani over wordless vocals, heavy reverb, and undeniable atmosphere and groove. Never before has it been so clear that exotica was not just an island in and of itself; its originators filtered contemporary influences with the fearlessness that comes with pure exploration. You can hear the overlap of early rock and roll, garage rock, and cool jazz cross-pollinating into something unique and adventurous. Sit back and take a the trip to Technicolor Paradise. (Adam)
Check out an overview video of the release here.