Exotica listeners always have to keep in mind that they're not listening to the truth. Exotica music oftentimes plays with your expectations, which themselves are built upon clichés and overly romantic notions of foreign islands, Polynesian jungles and adventures on a moon-lit bay. Exotica as a genre creates setups of blissful experiences in your mind and strikes off unpleasant pesterings like malaria, mosquitoes, and devastating natural disasters (but quite a few bands do mention wild savages and bloodthirsty natives quite often!). Hence, Exotica is situated around the notion of being fake by omitting negative emotions, and deliberately so. Furthermore, the genre most often does not contain or transport the true origin of traditional instrumental arrangements but is based on entertainment and illusion, intermingling Hollywood strings and Italian pianos with purportedly Tahitian percussion or Japanese stringed instruments – and this antithesis of plastic dreams is what Exotica collectors love about their favorite genre. So don't be fooled by iTunes, Amazon and other internet-based or real-world music shops that categorize Exotica as Ethnic or World music. In my opinion, the Jazz genre or even the Alternative genre are more appropriate, overarching ways of categorizing Exotica music, the very genre that shows us alternative ways about experiencing Paradise with the help of music. I am fond of all kinds of music that can be rated among the Exotica genre and hope that I am able to suit your taste with the presented releases, whether they are highly sought after, easily available or alien and exotic even by Exotica standards.
I am covering classic Golden Age Exotica releases as well as contemporary Exotica albums. Sometimes I encounter albums that feature one or two exotic cuts, but otherwise venture into other genres. If this is the case, I nevertheless present these songs and put them into the Exotica Song of the Month section where they find a home, accompanied by their real Exotica brethren. My definition of the genre is quite comprehensive: Tropical Jungle Jazz, Hapa Haole, Surf Rock, Retro Latin, Cocktail Lounge arrangements and symphonic Space-Age compositions altogether go hand in hand on AmbientExotica.com.
If you really want to know what the supposedly niche genre of Exotica has to offer in-between its fissured alcoves, I wholeheartedly point you to Mark Riddle's aka DigiTiki's Quiet Village Podcast from DigiTiki.com – this is the best Exotica-related music podcast you can find. Period. Mark regularly produces a 60-minute episode, oftentimes with the inclusion of an overarching theme and an interview partner, and each and every episode is a blast! I'm always glad when I recognize a track in his playlist, and at the same time all the more happy 98% of the time when he comes up with bands and songs I've never even heard of, so I can enjoy the aural journey full of surprises. This is truly an inspirational podcast, and it's free! Free, I tell you!
The Exotica Review section is updated every Saturday.