The Exotica Album's roots are in the “lounge” music of the mid 20th century as exemplified by Martin Denny and Les Baxter, a lush musical vernacular calling to mind an imaginary South Seas, tropical birds, and tiki lounges. However, it is as if seen and heard from a 21stcentury perspective, incorporating synthesizers, modern electronics, Messiaen-like bird song, and noise, making this a unique mashup of styles and decades distilled into a single work. In contrast to chittering minimalist trends, Exotica could be described as “maximalist,” with lush Hollywood-style melodies and kaleidoscopic instrumental colors in counterpoint with extravagant electronic displays of modernism.
While high culture or avant-garde encounters with popular musical forms often result in pastiches of a cynical or “meta” nature, Torvund’s approach is organically developed from within the style, resulting in a work both knowledgeable, genuine, and delightful.
In short, Exotica is a singular and indefinable musical experience.
From the liner notes:
A chorus of Disney-fied whistling leads into the synthesised sounds of jungle animals, as impossibly lush, sensual strings transport us to the South Seas setting of some corny Hollywood movie or coconut-flavoured TV ad. What might be chirping bird-calls (sounding suspiciously like short-wave radio signals), and an insistent peck on the piano give way to demented percussion, spiritual-sax and an Alpine brass fanfare that’s drowned out by electrical storms of yowling distortion. There’s electronic raindrops, a duet for bongo drums and ring-modulator. Add weird electronic wig-outs mixed with tiki lounge and it’s suddenly like John Zorn hanging with Karl-Heinz Stockhausen round at Martin Denny’s place. It's a musical Mai Tai!
Welcome to The Exotica Album by Øyvind Torvund. This is maximal music, where a gallon’s worth of content is squeezed into a pint-pot of recording time, and it’s great!
1. Ritual 1
2. Starry Night
3. Wind Up Paradise Birds
4. Waking Up Again
5. Rainforest Morning
6. Rainbow Crystal
7. Jungle Alarm
8. Ritual 2
10. Out of the Jungle