Thursday, May 01, 2008

Visit Quiet Village

Anyone out there remember the Ultra Lounge series that Capitol put out back in the 90’s? With titles like the Vegas Baby!, Mondo Exotica, Mambo Fever, Bachelor Pad Royale, Organs In Orbit, and the Tiki Sampler, you get an idea of what sounds were being propagated. I only had maybe a half dozen of the twenty-eight albums, but the ones I had certainly were quite different than the rest of my collection. What brings this to mind is Silent Movie, the debut release from Joel Martin and Matt Edwards, A.K.A. Quiet Village. The duo got their name from one of Martin Denny’s exotica masterpieces, an artist who figures prominently in the Ultra Lounge series, hence the connection.

The name Martin Denny might sound familiar (no, no association with the all-night eatery), as he’s considered the father of exotica and was almost single handedly responsible for developing the sound which would travel around the world and become a completely new genre. Following in the footsteps of Les Baxter (who started heading in this particular direction a few years prior, although not to the extent that Denny took it), Denny started with familiar tunes, added authentic ethnic instruments from around the world, and gave them a tropical flair, all in an effort to make the familiar exotic. And so, Exotica was born. Quiet Village was a song originally composed by Baxter which Denny took and transformed, and which appeared on his debut album Exotica (from which the name of the new genre was taken). Several years later Denny would take the song and include it on an album of the same name. And now, Martin and Edwards have taken it again, to make the now familiar sounds of Denny exotic once again.

Instead of performing music to listen to while sipping umbrella drinks at tiki bars though, the pair makes midtempo tracks designed for the dance floor. Their sound has been described as Balearic, which for those not familiar is a style of club music which developed in the mid 80’s on Ibiza, one of the Balearic Islands off the east coast of Spain in the Mediterranean. One of the cornerstones of the sound is its broad range of source and mixing styles brought together with a relatively heavy and slow beat. Martin describes their take on it as “spiritual, unusual, and warm,” and as “sophisticated adult exotica.”

Listen to Victoria’s Secret below and you’ll immediately pick up on the Denny influence as it's a song that could have been lifted right off of one of his albums from the 50's. The album rapidly accelerates through time though, leaving the 50's behind and evolving into a sound that retains links to the exotica of the past, while incorporating a modern chill groove you could pick up on in the present. Experience that transition begin to take place in the second track, Circus Of Horror. Eventually the album comes full circle, ending with Keep On Rolling, a track that reminisces back to the resplendent sounds of sea gulls and ocean waves from the opening song, but with an updated feel that typifies Quiet Village's modern-discotheque version of the style and sounds Martin Denny was playing with fifty years ago.

Visit their website, their label !K7 Records, and become their friend on MySpace.


Martin Denny - Quiet Village : The Exotic Sounds Of Martin Denny

Les Baxter - Voodoo Dreams / Voodoo
: Ultra Lounge Sampler

Sam Butera & The Witnesses - The Boulevard Of Broken Dreams/Fever
: Ultra Lounge, Vol.4: Bachelor Pad Royale

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