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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » 2018 » January » 17


THE FORECASTLE FESTIVAL LINEUP IS OUT!

Delivered... Spacelab - Independent Music and Media | Scene | Wed 17 Jan 2018 7:30 pm
Chris Stapleton, Arcade Fire and Modest Mouse all headline! Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Houndsmouth, The War On Drugs and Father John Misty also top the lineup!

THE SLOSS MUSIC FESTIVAL LINEUP IS OUT!

Delivered... Spacelab - Independent Music and Media | Scene | Wed 17 Jan 2018 7:30 pm
Chris Stapleton and Arcade Fire headline! Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit and GRiZ also top the lineup!

Sounds.com is a new cloud tool for loops and samples from NI

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 17 Jan 2018 6:40 pm

Sounds.com is a subscription-based loop and sample site – but it’s also a glimpse into Native Instruments’ future strategy for digital services for musicians.

Today, NI are revealing Sounds.com – a product in 2018 that sounds like someone registered a domain in 1996. That domain name pretty much covers it: it’s a place to go get sounds, in the form of loops and samples. It’s only available as a beta in the United States now, but will roll out to the rest of the world over the course of this year.

And we’re talking just straight, high-quality WAV files here – audio, for use anywhere. (No, not STEMS, since someone asked.)

You can check out the beta now. I’ve had the chance to talk to Matthew Adell (NI’s new digital services chief) and Sunny Lee (Product Owner) about the product, and poked around the beta and sounds a bit in advance. Here’s a sense of what this might mean as a product itself, but also some of the potential to sound designers and future NI products – if the service and its underlying infrastructure are fully exploited.

What’s the pitch for Sounds.com?

There are, of course, a lot of purveyors of loops and sound content. But what NI’s tool here promises is a deeper, broader catalog of sounds from multiple sources, combined with better tools for searching them.

You won’t see much of Native Instruments’ name on the site, and even their own products are in the background. So Maschine Expansions are there, if that’s your thing – but NI is just one of 200 providers. The Loop Loft, MVP, and Symphonic Distribution sit alongside lots of smaller shops. NI also says they’ve got a lot of exclusive content, and are launching with half a million sounds.

You can navigate by genre, covering not just dance genres, but things like “cinematic,” too. You’ll see bundled releases, but also individual sounds.

That could broaden the appeal here. Maybe you don’t want some massive set of Deep House or EDM loops. Fine – search for a single perfect clap one-shot. Maybe you want to explore some weird Reaktor-produced noises made by Applewhite on left-field label Detroit Underground. Or you’re on a tight TV or film scoring deadline and want to grab some unique sounding percussion. Or you just want some sounds to mangle quickly.
Because it’s easy to find one-shots, and because there’s tons of sound material that isn’t genre specific, it seems likely that Sounds.com will appeal to some people who haven’t bothered with loop or sample content before.

Native Instruments have talked a lot lately about reaching more customers. Here, they offer a fair amount of tools in a completely free, unpaid tier. You don’t even need an account to start poking around and previewing. But a free account nets you some selected free downloads.
US$9.99 a month gets you an all-you-can-eat diet of unlimited downloads of whatever you want. (This is the US-specific one for now; the free tier already works worldwide.) Even if you cancel and re-up, those downloads reappear… just in case you have a habit of not backing up and dropping beers on your hard drives.

There’s an underlying technical competency story here, though. In addition to investing over the past year in the cloud and products team, NI has been quietly over time developing in-house expertise in what’s called Music Information Retrieval. Basically, that’s the somewhat arcane research field of developing algorithms that identify sounds and metadata more clearly. This stuff has been bouncing around Europe for years, but it tends to involve stuffy academic contexts and music industry.

The twist here is, some of that “MIR” business can turn out to be, well, fun and useful to you and me. NI tells CDM these algorithms are sharp enough to analyze the difference between a closed and an open high hat. With a bunch of other built-in intelligence about metadata and tagging and the like, this could mean you actually find the sounds you want. We’ll need some time to test that, and because an online service like this both develop over time and can learn from additional data, it’s something that may well evolve.

But yeah, instead of training Facebook how to serve you ads, you might soon instead be training Native Instruments how to identify and find sounds. (It’s fitting we’re exploring machine learning as a topic this year with our hacklab for CTM Festival Berlin.)

And honing in on individual sounds is part of the mission. Thanks to better search tools, you’ll quickly find you can even ignore genre classification and search however you want – including key, BPM, and other sonic characteristics. There are also tools for grouping by artist/producer and label. (Some of those appear to be set to develop over time.)

With its direct access to one-shots and more left-field options, plus a visual waveform preview and lots of metadata, Sounds.com resembles nothing if not long-running platform https://freesound.org/ – more than something like the Beatport Sounds section. (As far as content, I can’t imagine freesound stacking up to this any more than I can imagine Sounds.com replacing freesound. Case in point: as I write this, freesound has as its sound of the day “procesión de la borriquita” –the procession of the donkey – from the first week of Easter in Tarifa, Spain. Still, the interface and some of the appeal do overlap.)

Lots of familiar sound design houses and artists are there – here’s the legendary Hank Shocklee, who’s been a continuous inspiration in technology for us.

Sounds.com is quick and easy enough that I imagine this could be a huge amount of fun. I’m not a huge fan of soundware, and even I started thinking of how to use this. Hello, Maschine Audio device.

What does this mean for sound creators?

Native Instruments, particularly through their flagship sampler KONTAKT and more recently their NKS format, have always been a platform and reseller for independent sound designers. Now, they actually have a working online platform to do that. NI are promising creators a fluid means to upload and manage their content, as well as a potential commercial opportunity.

The subscription model I imagine could also be disruptive if your business model was based on the à la carte release approach, but we’ll also have to see if these two models reach different customers (and accordingly supply different kinds of content). Consuming sound content for production also isn’t quite the same as consuming albums for listening, even if the buy/subscribe model here is a parallel.

Also, NI say their longer range plan is to provide an open API, also suggesting new developer integrations in music products not made by NI – first to select partners later this year, and then more broadly as they collect user and developer feedback.

What’s the bigger picture at Native Instruments?

Sounds.com has developed over the past year under the leadership of NI’s new “Chief Digital Officer,” Matthew Adell. Adell has experience at Napster and Amazon – and at Beatport. During his tenure, Beatport launched their Sounds section, which then saw explosive growth.

Now, the important thing here is, yes, there’s the specific product Sounds.com – but there’s also the team that built it and the plumbing they created to make it work. Adell confirmed to CDM that this is just a beginning.

More left-field and independent creations show up here, too. Here’s Detroit Underground with Marshall Applewhite. That’s an important story, as well, as it means this service is about NI’s ecosystem of sound creators, not just the sounds from NI themselves (though those are there, of course).

In addition to releases, you can find sounds individually, by collection, or here – again with label Detroit Underground – by provider. There’s no navigation to find them directly apart from search yet.

It’s a no-brainer that we’ll see Sounds.com integration in NI products in some form. But NI says their new, integrated digital services team can make these kinds of tools available across the whole NI product range – and even possibly on future hardware. Sounds.com represents the first product built atop a new cloud platform. (They’re using React JavaScript library on the front end, among other things, in case you’re interested.)

I hope that’s the case, because it could make the experience of using NI software significantly better.

Let’s back up and consider the user. We’re already essentially using NI as an online service provider, it’s just that they don’t behave much like one.

You’re a producer, and you’re using Maschine and Komplete. Right now, not even all upgrades and sound content are available in Native Update. Buying and upgrading is … well, complicated. And then storing and accessing your own sounds is often a chore.

Could this MIR stuff help you find and tag your own sounds and snapshots? Well, heck yes – especially because my guess is you’re even less likely to be organized about tagging and organizing your own files. (I’ve seen musicians’ hard drives. A lot of you are … let’s say right brain dominant. “Messy as #$*&” also fits.)

Cue points in Traktor that show up everywhere? Well, now there’s plumbing to make that happen (this appeared briefly in an iPad app, then disappeared right as we said we liked it).

Synchronized Reaktor Blocks ensembles and snapshots? Why not? (The free VCV Rack is already working on that.)

I’d love to use sophisticated sync and MIR technologies to locate and share my sounds and parameters. But it remains to be seen whether this modern approach from the online team in Los Angeles will be able to wrangle the complex web of different products and code that a lot of us use in Komplete and the like.

Sounds.com is recipient of some of the recent funding NI acquired, but its gestation started before that funding, NI say – so we’ll see how this unfolds later this year. Pro software and especially hardware products have much longer development cycles, so expect some of these fruits to appear later.

In the meanwhile, this is an encouraging step – and you’ve got some sounds to play with.

http://sounds.com [public beta; login available only from the USA but preview features available to all]

The post Sounds.com is a new cloud tool for loops and samples from NI appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

15 Years Later – Auction of FM Translators from 2003 Translator Window Scheduled

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Wed 17 Jan 2018 6:32 pm

The FCC has just announced an auction for approximately 43 translators left over from the 2003 FM translator window (see proposed auction procedures here, and list of mutually exclusive applicants here). The auction is scheduled to begin in June. These applications are mutually exclusive applications left over from that 2003 window, where the parties did not settle during the settlement window that the FCC opened several years ago (see our article here) and which were not dismissed when the Commission retroactively imposed limits on how many applications filed in the window from any applicant the Commission would process (see our article here). These contentious issues, involving a determination of the priorities to be accorded LPFM stations and FM translators, took the FCC many years to resolve, postponing this auction for so long.

We would expect that this delayed auction is a very unusual circumstance, and applications that may be mutually exclusive in the recent and upcoming windows for filing for FM translators for AM stations, will be resolved much more quickly as the underlying basic issues have generally been resolved. When we will see an open window for new FM translators, not tied to AM stations, is anyone’s guess at this point, but we know that at some point later this year, we should see a number of new translators both from this auction and from the windows for AM stations.

Arturia’s new easy, affordable modular cases also mount to MiniBrute 2

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 17 Jan 2018 2:01 pm

The beauty of Eurorack is its modularity. The problem is, that means your first investment has to be a case. Arturia’s RackBrute might be your solution.

It’s portable. It’s not hugely expensive – this is at last a mass market offering. And it seems full of eminently practical features – including, if you want, the ability to attach this to Arturia’s new MiniBrute 2 and 2S.

For those of you just joining us, Arturia have been teasing out three related products over the course of as may days. So on Monday, the news was the MiniBrute 2, a reboot of their signature monosynth with modularity added via a dense patch bay wedged in the upper-right hand corner of the hardware. Day two: maybe you want that same MiniBrute 2 without the keyboard, but with pads and a more extensive sequencer.

In case you didn’t catch some leaked photos or spot some funny looking pixels on either side of the keyboard, now part three turns out to be a set of Eurorack cases. And yes, that mysterious mention of “Arturia Link” is in fact the ability to attach the RackBrute to the MiniBrute 2/2S, so you have a handy complement of modules right above your synth (and can connect cables easily between the rack and the instrument).

This being modular, you get a choice of two sizes. For those of you new to this, both are the width of the MiniBrute 2 – so roughly the width of a 2t-key keyboard – and one is one row, while one is two rows.

To get more specific (hey, I was never the best with, like, quantities and scale):

3U / 88HP / 20 modules – $/EUR 249
6U / 176HP / 32 modules – $/EUR 279

Shipping in March.

Yeah, anyone who’s priced these out probably doesn’t have to read far beyond those costs. Sure, if you’re splurging on some beautiful handcrafted wood, maybe you want to spend more. But if you just need a way to solve where do I put my modules, this is a godsend – and just as Arturia solved the step sequencer problem for loads of musicians with BeatStep, so too it may have just solved the case problem for people curious to dip their toes in modular.

More features:
+12V / -12V / +5V power onboard
(Power supply with 1600mA +12V output, 1600mA -12V output and 900mA +5V output. 5HP width)
Comes with a carry handle – a bit like rollaway luggage
Spacers to protect your gear from collision
Arturia Link gives you lockable attachments of all this range of gear
Anti slip strips
Screw holes for attaching gear – and note they did include rails on there

Arturia Link is this elegantly designed widget that attaches the new MiniBrute and RackBrute hardware in various combinations – and doubles as a stand, and a carry handle.

The onboard power unit has dedicated dual circuitry set up for covering a range of gear.

Speaking of luggage, there’s a soft RackBrute Travel Bag (for scratch / splash / dust protection they say – note this isn’t a hard flight case, though, so I’d be a little nervous about it in an overhead locker on an airplane)

This, a toothbrush, and a deodorant might be all you need.

More info:
https://www.arturia.com/rackbrute-3u/overview

The post Arturia’s new easy, affordable modular cases also mount to MiniBrute 2 appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Arturia’s MiniBrute 2S with step sequencer, not keys, might be your pick

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 17 Jan 2018 1:56 pm

Now we know the whole story: Arturia’s new synths come with a choice of keys or pads+more step sequencing – and there’s are companion RackBrute cases.

So, if you like the ‘Brute synths, now you can choose.

Prefer a keyboard? The MiniBrute 2 (without the letter ‘s’) now has 25 full-sized keys. And it’s got the new patch bay for modular routing, plus a competent step sequencer and arpeggiator.

But prefer pads to a keyboard, or want deeper step sequencing? That’s the MiniBrute 2S.

To either, you can then add two cases for expanding with modular, making the MiniBrute the center of a patchable sound workstation. That’s what “Arturia Link” is – not some proprietary new sync format or something like that, but actually a physical connector attaching the accessories. (It’s a fancy name for some fancy holes, basically!)

Let’s talk about the 2S, because it’s already upstaging the MiniBrute 2 for some people. Little surprise: a lot of people aren’t keyboardists, people who are keyboardists generally already own keyboards, and most importantly, Arturia’s BeatStep line of sequencers were already beloved. Cross-breed that step sequencing goodness with the MiniBrute, and we may have a winner.

The pads on there reduce the overall footprint, and provide velocity and continuous pressure sensitivity.

The step sequencer is three parts – so, since this is a monosynth, that means in addition to making on layer for your melodies, you have two additional layers for automating parameters.

Here’s a breakdown of how it works:

1. Melody:
Sequence pitch, gate, and velocity – as per usual, and as on the BeatStep Pro – with ratcheting on gates if you so choose.

You can also set per-step glide.

2. Modulation:

There’s both a Mod 1 and Mod 2 tracks for adding layers of … other goodness.

So, Arturia tells CDM, you can use that track to generate envelopes and LFOs. Or you can make another Pitch track. Or a Gate track. Or an unquantized track of control voltages.

And naturally, this also is then patchable from the patch bay … or you can use this as a sequencer for external gear (including if you mount one of their new racks for your own modules).

The 2S combined with RackBrute, for a complete little modular setup.

It’s all very cool, indeed. Of course, you can still put a BeatStep Pro alongside a modular if you don’t care much for the MicroBrute synth. And indeed, I’ve noticed that Arturia piece glowing alongside modulars in many, many techno and experimental live acts lately – nice to see this inexpensive piece of gear next to racks of thousands of Euros/dollars worth of kit.

But this is also a powerful synthesizer meeting a powerful sequencer in one piece of gear, even without adding anything else. And if you do like the ‘Brute sound, then you get the usual edgy metallic timbres and filters, aggressive and wild knobs and modulation, and now the ability to expand your possibilities by patching. Having the sequencer built-in makes sequencing modulation and per-step settings easier, beyond just melodies – and you don’t have to pack an extra sequencer and cable.

So I suspect the MicroBrute 2S is going to find a lot of homes, whether it’s as a gateway to modular as Arturia are pushing, or as an equally strong choice for standing on its own or with other desktop gear.

Keyboardists will no doubt still like the arpeggiator and 101-style step sequencer of the MicroBrute 2, but the 2S stands out for programming patterns. Tough choice for those of us who do both – but Arturia’s done a nice job of focusing on what musicians want this round and gotten our gear year off to a rollicking start.

Pricing is $649 / EURO 649. Also shipping in February.

https://www.arturia.com/minibrute-2-landing

The post Arturia’s MiniBrute 2S with step sequencer, not keys, might be your pick appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

The Great Fantasies of Exotica

Delivered... Gerald Van Waes | Scene | Wed 17 Jan 2018 8:00 am

The history of «Exotica» is rich in amazing music, sounds, instruments, and stories. Gerald Van Waes collects these often rare and obscure sounds and writes about them on his blog psychevanhetfolk. For us he wrote a manifesto for exotica. From the Norient book Seismographic Sounds (see and order here).

Popular source of exoticism: Coconut Palm (Photo © Pixabay, 2016)

Censorship, Escapist Exotica & Big Orchestras

Around the birthmark of exotica lie rooted elements of escapism related with an increased censorship in post-war America. In the background, this censorship was forced upon by all post-war political and social world control activities. Exotica provided a safe way to explore newly adapted, faraway elements, which kept peoples focus away from any critical awareness or unrest. It also provided the impression that there still was available a creative accompaniment in progress. It was a form of fantasy and escapism. There was a general atmosphere of mistrust at the time and few risks were taken to reach beyond safe expressions in entertainment.

It was also the time when in fact one already could no longer afford the big orchestras, but in a last attempt to impress, the best ones incorporated or even replaced some musicians by exotic, mostly rhythmic elements. In general, one says that it was Martin Denny (and his orchestra) who used the term exotica for the first time publically on a record back in 1957. Yma Sumac at the perfect moment came to the public’s notice providing a new highlight of exotic compensation. The «new» foreign element in the context of exotica was still kept alien in nature. While soldiers at American army bases abroad discovered faraway musical forms and while they had locally musicians playing westernised or electrical forms of local folk music, those who came invited to the United States, still had to show themselves like circus acts. While Exotica remained a western-based form of music, belly dance music still fitted perfectly. The belly dancers on the covers alone were a stimulating safe form of daydream erotic fantasies. When in Lebanon, Omar Korshid introduced the electric guitar (and Moog-like elements) into the belly dance orchestra, this became their own contribution.

Belly Dance and Turkish Music

During these early years of exotica, I am able to distinguish a couple of different forms of inspirations that shows a few more relationships within the genre of Exotica. I have already mentioned the bigger or smaller orchestras with mostly extra percussive elements. Under influence of Yma Sumac, there were exotic voices being exploited as well. Many of these albums can be found on flee markets, but often it seems that they really are highly enjoyable, colourful and sonically uplifting.

Turkish music always fitted very well within the Exotica genre. They have a tradition of crafted arabesque orchestral arrangements, use contrasting instruments, and always have a well-developed percussive part (the element of percussion once incorporated into classical music and the west came originally from Turkish march music, and had been the new exotic element at that time). Turkey and mostly its Anatolian music showed a natural sensibility that is pretty reminiscent to what we feel as being exotic.

Theremin Exotica
 
Another direction of fantasies was provided via the early analogue synthesizers. It was especially the theremin, which became the exotic instrument. Its sound, like a mixture of a singing saw and a human voice, in a way had something from «out of space». Going with it to «where no one had gone before», which turned any further communist witch-hunt speculation into the new fantasy projection of the alien.

Monster Hop
 
Before teenage rock’n roll finally turned towards real life, a few more fantasy compensations existed under the genre of Monster Hop, like an Adams Family band. With such fantasies of the living dead and monsters, war traumas or casualties found a surreal compensating reflection, while their fears had found an outlet into Monster Balls.

Psych Exotica

A first transformation of the Exotic genre grew already after the release of the album from Eden Ahbez. Even though for the composer, this was for him about real-life, an idealistic vision, for the public this still seemed to be so far away again from daily life and it’s economic struggle for survival, this still felt like another form and branch of exotica. Once the public would decide to really go deeper into over-idealising forms, the mind expanding and altering desires of the hippies, opening up restricted behaviourisms and ways of life, -via psychedelia-, one must still realise that this wasn’t about real life either. Its commercial forms had relations to exotica as well. Sitar was THE exotic element that emerged from this scene. The commercial exotic form produced so-called psychploitation albums like modernised forms of exotica.
 
Exotic Fusions

The sitar was of course seriously introduced via Ravi Shankar via The Beatles («Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heartclub Band»). While the schools of Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan gave Indian elements more serious associations, its first results still showed rather superficial fusions and adaptations. Only composers like Ravi’s nephew Ananda Shankar really knew how to fuse genres from different countries and how to re-emerge them together into a creative new form of music, making the birthmark of «new-exotica», a genre which could have existed and noticed but which in fact never was. New fusions appeared mostly within the jazz genre first, with influences from Indian (Joe Harriott), African (Tony Scott, Pharoah Sanders, Don Cherry), Middle Eastern, and Flamenco nature, while some other genres were embraced.

Nevertheless, from that new direction, like into jazz fusions, the genre of exotica for me still lived on, more seriously, into those artists who turned a mixture of elements into something far more serious, without letting it to be adopted into jazz. Instead, they will turn this into a totally new genre, which we could call for this occasion also call New Exotica. It is something that I previously called All-World or Whole-World Fusion, a potential new genre, which started with Ananda Shankar perhaps. A whole series of musicians and bands fit here, but often also, still fall off the grid completely. The most talented musicians having learned the best of genres succeeded in merging genres from all of the world, to create something new with it, something of their own, with an expression that is either belonging to world music, to jazz, to fusion, pop or rock.

Mostly such attempts are short-lived, but show the best of talents and visions. For organisers, bands or musicians who belong here are either not World Music enough, do not belong to Pop, Rock or Jazz and will not be invited. They remain unnoticed, and have to give up after a while. They were never fully exploited (Ancient Future, Mööndö, Esthema,..). Often they emphasised a little bit more upon Indian music (Lele Lele,..), or Middle eastern elements. Some people perfectly fused flamenco with Indian music, finding musical elements that were rooted into the same musical foundation (Indialucia, Sacha Silva, Gualberto, Shonghai,..). Amongst such serious examples of musicians who had a hard time to survive, were such musicians that were giving a new meaning to exotica, different to the elements that in reality defined it further for the public. The further exploitation of world music and its mixtures with western beats in reality in fact had mere often killed the last interest towards potential creative exotic genres. Let me explain what happened more noticeably.

World Music Puritism versus World Eat Exploitation

The West now had psychedelia and progressive rock. World music had been taken away from fusion and integration now. The interest in any world music associations now became purified, just like a monkey-watching business, trying to distil now only the absolutely pure and simple, dry and traditional forms of ethnic music. In contrast to the freeing forms of psychedelia, from foreign music one was not looking for any creative voices, but for folk purification, to the extent of the absurd. At the same time, Latin or African entertainment bands were still not so quickly invited.

From this area and new mentality of folk purism, a new exploitation genre arose, mixing modern beats with this purified world music, often to horrifying effect, leading to a genre of samples like a new post-colonial exploitation. The attempts by Peter Gabriel’s own label to adapt a modernity (still succesful at that point) from the original world music musicians themselves, was turned into an idea by others to exploit the superficial apects of this hybryd foreceably as the new norm, a further exploitation which quickly turned the new branch against itself, leaving us with allergic reactions towards anything that is related to world music and also its modern exploitation.

Far-Away Versions

We have so far seen especially the Western point of view, as to where exotica all led. In the rest of the world it had led to different interesting shifts and turns. I have followed what happened in the rest of the world, and I must say that it is interesting to notice. The feeling of Exotica means something else in the Middle East and East and the Far East. Their approaches meant being the birthplace of great creative movements. In many countries, it was especially the American marine bases that led to the stimulation of birth of local groups that mixed western and local folk music. The introduction of the electric guitar and the influence of groups like the Ventures and The Shadows were the starting point to make such new mixtures of genres that were felt locally as being highly exotic.

In Turkey, Anadolu Pop was a mixture of Anatolian folk with pop and rock music. In Cambodia and Thailand, electric folk-pop music was the new exotica. In Korea, mixtures of American folk with the Japanese occupation period tradition of Trot music were still mostly the new genre that had been tried out, and exploited further. In Hong Kong, they had their own exploitation bands of exotica, like the great to mention Oscar Young Band. In the east and far-east Go-Go styles were often like a mixture of pop music folk elements and also with psychedelia, as a form of a ‘new exotic sound’. Japan was much more seriously into their explorations, so that I can hardly call any of their new mixtures Exotica, except for the exotic rock’n roll of Takeshi Terauchi & Blue Jeans or Masari Hiraro showing a mixture of Japanese folk traditions with early rock’n roll, as truly original forms of exotic pop. From the all-world fusions, a person with a creative vision I need to mention here is the talent of Ayuo.

In the Arab world, they commercialised beats a lot, which are harsh and heavy beats mostly. They have created their own commercial form of exotica, which is unfortunately the least creative, a genre that does not seem to allow any further subtleties either. Exotica as a genre oddly enough can hardly be found outside the East, Far-East, West and Middle East. African and Afro-Caribbean music is much more direct than that.

Re-Exotic Bands

Luckily today we still have some Re-Exotica bands, re-engaging the positive entertaining effect of Exotica. As a last sub-genre, I should mention all the new groups who felt that there was something positive and positively entertaining from the genre of Exotica, they tried to re-establish an orchestra of their own that could relive all that. Such bands have a great warm, brilliant sound and are a mixture of entertainment and serious dedication. I will simply drop a few names: Modular, Russkie Wig-Out, Senor Coconut, Ixtahuelle, Besbo Best & The Super Lounge Orchestra,..). A band like Secret Chiefs 3 have one root in exotica, and another one in serious creative (sometimes heavy!) rock editions of traditional music, with inspirations ranging from the Middle east to Morricone, Ananda Shankar,.. They are perhaps the most serious creative band of its kind for the moment.

Conclusion

Exotica still is a bit underestimated and not thoroughly investigated well enough as a genre. The reason for this I explained here in this article. I guess that it was the commercial exploitation of music in general, and the mentality of separation (of us and them), rather than a well established trust for an integral creative fusion of different musical talents from anywhere in the world that had had most chances. This ruined its genre’s potential at the same time. We still lack a new naming for a potential genre that puts all creative, all-world music souls into one separate genre, put them onto one differentiated platform, a platform that should gain world consciousness and should receive therefore alone anyone’s full support. The musicians who succeed in going there show something of the common root of creativity that binds people together in this world. It is what makes us feel how much we all have in common, share as common potential, as a common musical language. Exotica give us the feeling that we are able to explore a new mixture like a fantasy first. At its best, with the New Exotica rock bands like Secret Chiefs 3, it even is able to become a common and even more direct experience.

The text was published first as a very short qote in the second Norient book Seismographic Sounds. Click on the image to know more.

Read More on Norient

> Martin Stokes and Thomas Burkhalter: «The Banalization of the Exotic»
> Percy Mabandu: «Exotica in South African House Music»
> Xander Ferreira & Thomas Burkhalter: «The Misunderstood Farmer Boy»

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