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异域 Exotica

Exotica is a form of easy-listening lounge music that draws upon world music, but it doesn't aim for authentic replication. Instead, exotica's primary concern is lightweight entertainment, gathering readily identifiable ethnic sounds into a smooth, easily digested pop form. The music typically conjures up images of exotic foreign tourist destinations geared toward white Americans, and in that sense, it's sort of the equivalent of a pre-packaged resort vacation -- fun, inauthentic, and safely familiar. Exotica is usually arranged for standard orchestras, with instrumentation added according to the location being evoked (ethnic percussion, string instruments, etc.); some exotica also borrows the weird, otherworldly sound effects that define the space-age pop style. Even in its '50s/early-'60s heyday, exotica was often derided as cheesy and contrived, but its '90s revival among alternative music fans embraced those very qualities (albeit ironically), and also brought a sincere reassessment of the music's inventive production techniques. The Pacific, the Caribbean, Latin America, Brazil, and Africa are among exotica's most popular regional musical sources; major exotica artists include Les Baxter, Martin Denny, Esquivel, and Yma Sumac



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