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"what's in a name..."

A small attempt to explain "exotica"

There's "exotica", and then "exotica". The original, "classic exotica" was invented by Les Baxter, popularised by Martin Denny, followed by Arthur Lyman and many other fine artists. Then came so-called "Spage Age Pop", lead by Esquivel, Dick Schory, Enoch Light and others. Then came the "Now" sound, Moog records, etc etc.

Over the years and decades, the word "exotica" has been a wheelbarrow-like bandwagon, accumulating more and more genres and artists - some of them even date from before les Baxter. So, what people call "exotica" today, isn't a clearly defined genre anymore, but a wonderfull amalgamation of several sub-genres. What do they have in common?

Most "exotica" is instrumental; if there are vocals though, they are wordless; and if there ARE words, they are in an exotic language; and if not, then the vocals should be strange, campy, sexy, cool, ridiculous, twisted or remarkable in any way. In other words: most "exotica" is music without a message, or easy listening.
However, just any easy listening won't do; "exotica" should be inventive or twisted in some way, hence the nicknames GReasy or SLeazy or QUeasy listening...

Exotica sub-genres:

camp... novelty... cartoon music... celebrity vocals... stupid rock'n'roll... interesting EZ... music with sound effects... sleazy or greasy listening... lounge... exotic music... cocktail music... space age pop... strange covers... strange crossovers... incredibly strange music (ISM)... Space Age Bachelor Pad Music (SABPM)... Moog... organs... ethnic music... percussion music... bizar instruments... instro pop guitars... tape manipulations... outer space exotica... beatnik... spy jazz... crime jazz... nervous jazz... spoken word... TV Soundtracks... evocative film music... mambo, samba, Bossa Nova, and other Latin rhythms...

There is more to know about "exotica"... A LOT more! below is a short "to do" list with some essential reading:

more information on "exotica" and exotic records:

  1. visit Space Age Bachelor Pad Music: Joseph Holmes' legendary site that kinda started it all.
  2. visit Space Age Pop: Brad Bigelow's huge site about essential Space Age Pop records.
  3. buy the 2 "Incredibly Strange Music" books/CDs
  4. subscribe to Cool And Strange Music Magazine
  5. join the Exotica Newsletter, for entertaining and highly informative discussions about "exotica". The Exotica Mailing List FAQ can be found at any of these locations:
  6. join The Lava Lamp Soundtrack List, which is dedicated to the exotic side of film music: B-Movie soundtracks, Exploitation and Cult Films of the 1960's and 70's, production library music and recordings inspired by soundtracks.
  7. more great "exotica" sites can be found at my "Linquarium" links page, and places to buy records can be found at my "Shoppinquarium" page.
  8. more magazines can be found at Vik's Lounge Of Self-Indulgance

A note about the links above: they haven't been checked/updated in ages I'm afraid, so if one doesn't work, look it up in my "Linquarium" links page.


"a quick & dirty draft for a page with "exotic" places in Belgium"

  1. Brussels, center:
    1. Second Hand & "Exotica" Record shops, Flea Markets:
      1. The Collector, Beursstraat / Rue de Bourse 26: a collector's heaven, but very expensive. [street map]
      2. Dr. Vinyl, Groot Eiland 1, 1000 Brussel: new records, specialised in vinyl. [street map]
      3. Juke Box Shop, Anspachlaan / Boulevard Anspach 165, 1000 Brussels: French pop, 60's stuff. [street map]
      4. Flea Market: Sunday between 8 and 12 PM on the Vossenplein / Place De Jeu De Boules. [street map]
      5. L'Arlequin, Eikstraat / Rue du Chene 7: has "odd items" with nice surprises. [street map]
      6. MOB Records, Anspachlaan/ Boulevard Anspach (or Anneessenslaan/ Boulevard Anneessens, which is the Southward prolonging of the same street) near The "Beurs/ Bourse": specialised in Easy Listening, Exotica, Lounge etc. Expensive.
      7. Pêle Mêle, Maurice Lemonnierlaan/ Boulevard Maurice Lemonnier 55: large selection, all genres. [street map]
    2. Pubs & Clubs:
      1. Lounge (don't know the address, but I've read thet play lounge music -- no idea if it is the old type of lounge, or the new electronic "chill out" type.
    3. Museums & Buildings:
      1. Royal Museum for Middle Africa. [street map]
      2. the Atomium, Boulevard du Centenaire 1, 1020 Brussels. It was built for the world exhibition in 1958, and was to be destroyed afterwards, but they luckily changed their minds. [street map]
      3. The Chinese Tower is about the only other relic from that world fair, in the royal park, I think it is sometimes open for visitors, check with the tourist board.
      4. The Comic Strip Museum (Stripverhalenmuseum / Muséé de la Bande Dessineé) is housed in a beautiful Art Nouveau factory building. [street map]
      5. Museum for Musical Instruments: all-glas and metal Art Nouveau style building (by Horta?), used to be an "Old England" shop, now housing a Musical Instruments museum and a unique restaurant on the top floor. [street map]
    4. Parks:
      1. the Botanical Gardens in Meise. [street map]
      2. The Parrots Colony: there's a lively bunch of parakeets or parrots in the "Guy d'Abrezzo Plaats" that once escaped from a private housing, and surprisingly adapted to the cold winter climat.
Missing addresses can be looked up in the online Yellow Pages of Belgium . All mentioned shops are in the center, zip code 1000, Brussels. Brussels' center is very small, you'll find others on your way!

Happy visiting, and good luck on your hunting!

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