Sunday, February 15, 2015


Oh man, I was so looking forward to picking this one! This theme will be so much fun to make! Turkish Psychedelic is a sub genre from the 70s originating from… hey you guessed it: Turkey. And I loooove it !

Psychedelic Turk is a result of the western music influences of the 70s (Led Zepellin, Jimi Hendrix, Doors, etc…) on the anatolian culture, resulting in one of the most grooviest blend of folkloric and traditional local flavors with classic rock, fuzz guitar and funky beats. Some people will talk about a westernization of the local culture and music, but they are wrong. It's in fact really an "easternization" of the popular music of the west, where a bunch of Anatolian artists from the time appropriated themselves with the codes and styles of the British and American rock bands, and turned them into their own cultural canvas with typical folkloric instruments, percussions and music scales of the east. The result is called "Turkish Psych" for good reason as it is literally mind blowing, not heard anywhere else and that makes the Led Zep song Kashmir sounds like a mere attempt to incorporate eastern scale into rock when you hear how sounds the real thing.

To begin with some listening recommendations, you can't go wrong with this song by Barış Manço  Lambaya Puf De. The Frank Zappa looking Barış Manço is pointing at you on the cover sleeve like he is saying "Hey you, are you looking for some hashish? Well, listen to this first". Indeed, Lambaya Puf De, "The Lamp Trick", is quite a trip, and when it gets fast at the end, you get the essence of Psychedelic Turk and you may get up on your feet and start to do some exotic dancing.

In number 2 of my personal list, you have Erkin Koray, the coolest turtleneck wearing rocker ever, with the song Cemalin from the album Elektronik Türküler, a 8 minutes hypnotic rock groove that I swear you will become addicted only after a few listening. The way he looks at you at 1 : 20 and the strange words he sings, damn, what is going on, I feel strange and dizzy!

(apprently Blogger doesn't let me put directly the Youtube video, so here's the link)

And finally, another favorite of mine is the hip looking Zafer Dilek who gets even more deeper into instrumental turkish melodies and beats, not afraid to blend some spacey moog leads and that's why we love the 70s so much! In the second video, it's wah wah guitar, traditional instruments with fuzz and busy percussions and drums fills, man it's so good!

So for this one, I'll pretend I have some Turkish blood in my vein and I promise something that will kick your but. Check out the result in 2 weeks on Soundcloud.

Sunday, February 1, 2015


After passing two weeks in the beautiful and vast world of François de Roubaix, and working so hard on my theme 02, I was a bit anxious to know what would be next for the theme 03.  What if I had picked "Ennio Morricone" back to back with de Roubaix? No respite!

Although I did a thoughtful job with the selection of the 22 themes of this project, by choosing a great variety of genres and influences, I can't predict the order in which they will appear. And that's the funny part!

But finally, the next theme picked by our lovely Lisa, very much appropriated with her dressing, is : Exotica.

Oh, cool it sounds like a relief.

Well, Exotica is maybe one of the most misunderstood genres of music. Politely described as 'Tropical Jazz', it also bears the term -not always with good intent, of 'Easy Listening'. If we really want to be ill-intentionned, let's have a look to the definition given by the All-Music website "(…) exotica's primary concern is lightweight entertainment, gathering readily identifiable ethnic sounds into a smooth, easily digested pop form. The music typically conjures up images of exotic foreign tourist destinations geared toward white Americans, and in that sense, it's sort of the equivalent of a pre-packaged resort …"
Not a very positive view.

But I'm sure that you have learnt not to trust the right-minded cultural critics unable to put aside their cynical views or concerns about social acceptance. They are certainly not the ones who told you to dig the obscure Stelvio Cipriani soundtracks (no in fact it's me who told you, haha)!

Ok, yeah there's a lot of awful exotica music out there. But that is true for any genre.

We'd better listen to one of the most avant-garde, eclectic and prolific artists of the last 30 years, John Zorn, what he has to say in this interview about one of his primary sources of influence :

JazzTimes: Let’s talk about the Dreamers. I was delightfully surprised by this group. Where is this charming music coming from?
John Zorn: Well, it comes from my love for music that does delight and charm. I am a big fan of Les Baxter, Martin Denny, Arthur Lyman, the pioneers of exotica. I’ve been a fan of that music since I was young. It was part of my upbringing; it’s there. You can hear elements of it here and there in my music over time. You hear it in Bar Kokhba; even in things like Godard and Spillane there are moments that sound like that. This Dreamers project, I think, was bringing together all of these beautiful musics that I love, from world music to surf music to exotica music to different kinds of funk and blues. I put all of these things together and created something that, for me, was meant to charm and delight.

"Charm and delight". That is two words I'd rather choose to describe what this music is intent for, slightly more respectful than the All-Music's "lightweight entertainment" description. Certainly a matter of point of view and it's true that in this cynical age, it can be difficult to take the "charm and delight" to the first degree and let yourself be charmed by the simple beauty of music.

Anyway, I'll stick with John Zorn fascination for this genre (and we could also include his good body, Mike Patton, also a fan). For instance, Les Baxter music is everything except the ignorant definition of All-Music. He certainly was a master of his art, a great orchestrator and composer. He defined the genre already with his first album in back in 1951 (!), Ritual of the Savage. Here's one cool track from this album.

So, did I say it will be an easy theme? Well, I will definitively have to work out some nice tropical textures, or what others may ear as "readily identifiable ethnic sounds into a smooth, easily digested pop form"...
Easier said than done.

In the meantime, I'll let you with one of my favorites Library Music tracks (because you know I've been a lot into it recently), from one holy grail LP, Jungle Obsession (1971) : Tropical by Nino Nardino, a track of post-exotica before it's time, if I can say so. Certainly a starting point for my next theme!…

Also, great  piece of music (live) by John Zorn featuring Marc Ribot on guitar and fully influenced by Exotica music.