Exotica is the first album by Martin Denny, released in 1957. It contained Denny's most famous song, "Quiet Village", and spawned an entire genre bearing its name. It was recorded in Webley Edwards' studio (not, as often reported, the Aluminum Dome at Henry J. Kaiser's Hawaiian Village Complex) in Waikiki in December 1956. The album topped Billboard's charts in 1959.
The original album was recorded in mono. It was re-recorded in stereo in 1958; by then, however, Denny's popular sideman Arthur Lyman had left the group, and was replaced byJulius Wechter. Denny preferred the original mono version: "It has the original spark, the excitement, the feeling we were breaking new ground."
AllMusic Review by Tony Wilds
Exotica introduced the hit "Quiet Village," catapulted the ersatz musical idiom of the same name, and brought much attention to the Martin Denny Group from visitors to the group's base in Hawaii. Even the gorgeous jacket photo -- of "exotica girl" Sandy Warner peeking out from a bamboo curtain -- is a classic of the era. With all this going for it, it almost seems unnecessary to point out that half of the tunes are from Les Baxter's tremendous "tone poem" Ritual of the Savage, itself an early classic of exotica. All of the tracks are solid and appropriate. Oddly enough, the record reflects Liberty Records' refusal to release its monaural recordings in electronically simulated stereo. The original, monaural version of the LP was recorded before stereo records were produced. That version features Arthur Lyman (still fresh after drunkenly discovering the allure of birdcalls) and is considered brighter, wilder, and more interesting than the stereo re-recording. The stereo version features Lyman's replacement on vibraphone, Julius Wechter (later founder of the astoundingly boring Baja Marimba Band).
Return to Paradise
Hong Kong Blues
China Nights (Shina No Yuro)
Ah Me Furi