Saturday, April 02, 2016

Robert Drasnin - Voodoo

The late ‘50s/early ‘60s were the halcyon era of exotica recordings partly due to the ascendancy of high fidelity, the popularity of easy listening & jazz, requisite post-war Polynesian escapism along with the universal human search for the indigenous. While not one of the genre giants (Les Baxter, Martin Denny, Arthur Lyman, and Yma Sumac) the adventurous sounds and intricate musicianship found on Robert Drasnin’s Voodoo has allowed his original compositions to endure and connect to ensuing generations. In its original vinyl incarnation, this is one of the most sought-after exotica albums due to the original minuscule print run and distant realms evoked within its grooves.  “Orinoco," flows and floats like lava over the continually shifting plates of pan–global percussion-sweeping the sound to overlooks of the vast Pacific. Interweaving harp, glockenspiel and wind chimes, “Enchantment” sways like a flourishing palm tree somewhere between the still spreading seafloor and the jet stream.  “Tambuku,” featuring a young John Williams on piano, takes on Far East motifs with an understated atmospheric approach free floating over a panorama of perpetual percussion. Voodoo frequently explores the rarefied space where exotica overlaps with Latin Jazz. Accordingly, it's the perfect soundtrack for an excursion to the famous Kon-Tiki in Tucson or on the back porch between drug store tiki torches and visions of Easter Island.

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