"Charred Mammal Flesh"
are very few bands around today doing “Exotica” music--the kind of South
Seas inspired jazz made popular in the 1950's by Martin
Denny, Les Baxter, and Arthur Lyman.
Probably the best known of the modern groups is the Hawaii-based Don
Tiki who has put out two killer albums The Forbidden
Sounds of Don Tiki and Skinny Dip with Don Tiki.
Then, more recently, there is the Houston, Texas-based band Clouseaux.
Well, time to add another band to that list. Their name is Waitiki.
They hail out of Boston and have recently released their debut album Charred
Mammal Flesh: Exotic Music for BBQ.
Flesh is an album with two personalities. On one hand, there are
traditional exotica tunes like Martin Denny’s “Manila” and
the popular “Primativa” as well as Don Tiki’s “Flower Humming.”
There are also some great original tunes like “Plamingo Flagoda” and “Cave
of Uldo.” But, there are some very odd additions to the album as well.
Mammal Flesh is filled with several strange chanting numbers (namely
“Pan-XOTIK-Da,” Fuzzy Mammoth Breath,” and “Mr. Ho's Yummy Hut Yee-Haw”)
and experimental sound collages (“Insomniac Food for The Mayor of Exotica”
and “Insomniac Food, Part Two: The Mid-Morning Snack”) that are unlike
anything every put on an Exotica album.
understands that Exotica is not just about the music but about the mysterious
aura the music creates. It doesn’t do any good just to transport you musically
to some sort of Polynesian paradise. You must also invoke dancing native
girls, witch doctors, and all the strange creatures that inhabit the jungle.
It’s like trying to hand someone a tiki mug without a Mai Tai in it. It
just feels empty without that dash of magic.
Exotica music is not
the only story when it comes to Waitiki. The guys in the
band also have another side project called the Waitiki Orchestrotica.
The Orchestrotica is a 20-piece big band that was put together
to recreate the original sound of Esquivel’s
space-age bachelor pad music. That might not sound remarkable in and of
itself—until you realize the original charts for Esquivel’s
tunes were lost. The guys in Waitiki went back to the original
recordings and transcribed nine of their favorite songs by ear. If that
wasn’t enough, they decided to show off these transcriptions by playing
them live in spring of 2005. They’re hoping to take the Orchestrotica
on the road in 2006 to Esquivel’s home country Mexico.
can be heard frequently on The Bachelor Pad
Radio Show. Waitiki also has a great website
filled with audio samples of both their Exotica music and their Esquivel
tunes. Tell ‘em Java sent you.