About five years ago I randomly stumbled upon some great music, it was labeled “Lounge Music”. It sounded like a James Bond soundtrack with more exotic instruments, like vibraphone and theremin. I did some digging, and found it was a style of music called “exotica”.
I read up on all the greats–Martin Denny and Les Baxter are the giants. Denny started playing hawaiian music with a bunch of different instruments, even employing bird calls and jungle sounds in his music. Les Baxter had more of a movie soundtrack feel to his music–lots of strings with a very subdued melody. People took notice, and in the late 50’s the US saw witnessed the exotica boom. Many artists copied the style, including “lounge” singers like Dean Martin. The music is really fun to have in the background, it’s very chill and happy. It’s definitely not challenging to the ear, which is why it’s filed under “Easy Listening”.
Without warning, lounge music saw a revival in the early 1990’s. Many acts like Combustible Edison and artists like Don Tiki experienced newfound glory.
I like the old stuff best.
Exotica album covers are uniformly great.