Mondo Exotica: Sounds, Visions, Obsessions of the Cocktail Generation (Paperback)
  • Mondo Exotica: Sounds, Visions, Obsessions of the Cocktail Generation (Paperback)
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Mondo Exotica: Sounds, Visions, Obsessions of the Cocktail Generation (Paperback)

(author), (translator)
£23.99
Paperback 376 Pages / Published: 25/04/2008
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Tiki torches, cocktails, la dolce vita, and the music that popularized them-Mondo Exotica offers a behind-the-scenes look at the sounds and obsessions of the Space Age and Cold War period as well as the renewed interest in them evident in contemporary music and design. The music journalist and radio host Francesco Adinolfi provides extraordinary detail about artists, songs, albums, and soundtracks, while also presenting an incisive analysis of the ethnic and cultural stereotypes embodied in exotica and related genres. In this encyclopedic account of films, books, TV programs, mixed drinks, and above all music, he balances a respect for exotica's artistic innovations with a critical assessment of what its popularity says about postwar society in the United States and Europe, and what its revival implies today.

Adinolfi interviewed a number of exotica greats, and Mondo Exotica incorporates material from his interviews with Martin Denny, Esquivel, the Italian film composers Piero Piccioni and Piero Umiliani, and others. It begins with an extended look at the postwar popularity of exotica in the United States. Adinolfi describes how American bachelors and suburbanites embraced the Polynesian god Tiki as a symbol of escape and sexual liberation; how Les Baxter's album Ritual of the Savage (1951) ushered in the exotica music craze; and how Martin Denny's Exotica built on that craze, hitting number one in 1957. Adinolfi chronicles the popularity of performers from Yma Sumac, "the Peruvian Nightingale," to Esquivel, who was described by Variety as "the Mexican Duke Ellington," to the chanteuses Eartha Kitt, Julie London, and Ann-Margret. He explores exotica's many sub-genres, including mood music, crime jazz, and spy music. Turning to Italy, he reconstructs the postwar years of la dolce vita, explaining how budget spy films, spaghetti westerns, soft-core porn movies, and other genres demonstrated an attraction to the foreign. Mondo Exotica includes a discography of albums, compilations, and remixes.

Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 9780822341567
Number of pages: 376
Weight: 522 g
Dimensions: 235 x 156 x 22 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Crammed with facts about sounds, composers, their histories, reminiscences and a whole lot more, Adinolfi has more than done his research, which , in such a odd, diverse, and obscure field of music, has to be applauded. . . . [A] very worthy edition to any bachelor pad. . . ." - Jonny Trunk, Record Collector
"Adinolfi contextualizes the 1950s exotica trend by placing it within a long history of Western musical exoticism. He ably documents instances of cultural appropriation, from seventeenth-century motifs of the Indies to Mozart's search for musical expressions evocative of 'that elusive Turkish flavor' (37)." - Khalil Anthony Johnson Jr., American Quarterly
"Mondo Exotica is essential reading for those interested in twentieth-century American studies, popular musical culture, and twentieth-century visual culture. . . . Ultimately, this work is incredibly engaging and entertaining, equal parts mondo and exotic." - Kim Cunningham, Visual Studies
"[I]nterviews with some of exotica's prime movers and shakers, most notably [Martin] Denny, Piero Piccioni and Esquivel, provide additional insight and immediacy to this fascinating study." - Ken Hollings, The Wire
"Part cult music and record colllectors' delight and part intriguing pop cultural study, Mondo Exotica is . . . a generally entertaining read that sheds some light on how larger cultural, social, and political trends are reflected in popular music." - Chris Heim, KMUW-FM
"Mondo Exotica is a cornucopia of data documenting lounge music and culture and their mid-1990s revival. Francesco Adinolfi has written a book that is as fun to read as the lounge lifestyle is fun to live!"-Otto Von Stroheim, DJ, founder of Tiki News, and organizer of the annual Tiki Oasis weekend event
"You want alternative culture? Here's the real thing. Francesco Adinolfi looks beyond the camp value and discovers the exotic urges that drove a generation that was supposed to be respectable. This terrific book reminds you that some of the most unique records ever made can still be found at your local garage sale-and that it's never too late to discover how to live."-Brett Milano, author of The Sound of Our Town: A History of Boston Rock & Roll and Vinyl Junkies: Adventures in Record Collecting

"Mondo Exotica is essential reading for those interested in twentieth-century American studies, popular musical culture, and twentieth-century visual culture. . . . Ultimately, this work is incredibly engaging and entertaining, equal parts mondo and exotic." -- Kim Cunningham * Visual Studies *
"[I]nterviews with some of exotica's prime movers and shakers, most notably [Martin] Denny, Piero Piccioni and Esquivel, provide additional insight and immediacy to this fascinating study." -- Ken Hollings * The Wire *
"Adinolfi contextualizes the 1950s exotica trend by placing it within a long history of Western musical exoticism. He ably documents instances of cultural appropriation, from seventeenth-century motifs of the Indies to Mozart's search for musical expressions evocative of 'that elusive Turkish flavor' (37)." -- Khalil Anthony Johnson Jr. * American Quarterly *
"Crammed with facts about sounds, composers, their histories, reminiscences and a whole lot more, Adinolfi has more than done his research, which , in such a odd, diverse, and obscure field of music, has to be applauded. . . . [A] very worthy edition to any bachelor pad. . . ." -- Jonny Trunk * Record Collector *
"Part cult music and record colllectors' delight and part intriguing pop cultural study, Mondo Exotica is . . . a generally entertaining read that sheds some light on how larger cultural, social, and political trends are reflected in popular music." -- Chris Heim * KMUW-FM *

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