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"Charred Mammal Flesh"
Waitiki, 2005

     There 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.
     Charred Mammal 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. Charred 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. 
     Waitiki 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.
     Waitiki 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. 


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