Monday, April 28, 2008

Exotic Moods Of Les Baxter (Review)

The Exotic Moods Of Les Baxter was released by Capitol in 1996, and is my opinion the finest Les Baxter collection of all time. It is superior sound quality to some of Capitol's previous Baxter releases, and the song selections are terrific. This is 40 of Baxter's finest soundscapes from his years at Capitol records spanning from the 1940s - 1960s. This is over 2 hours of rich, vibrant exotica and a few lounge tracks. The only the thing I wish had been added are the songs "Tropicana" and "Atlantis", otherwise it is an impeccable sampler. The unbelievable thing is that this album is not in print, and it costs a pretty penny to buy it used. Prices seem to fluctuate between $55 to $90. I am in complete hopes that Capitol will reissue this gem of a collection as well as their similar Martin Denny collection. Until that happens there will be a link located in the comments section to hear this wonderful collection in Hi-VBR LAME MP3s. I do not know the original source of this copy, it was acquired on Daemonoid back in the day. There is on CD2 an additional bonus track of "Atlantis" which I added. The cover pictured here is from the great exotica blogpage Xtabays World. This finishes my posts about exotica for the time being, I will return back to my eclectic offerings.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Deviants-Metamorphosis Exploration (Synthetic Mix)

This is the final song on the final album by the original line-up of The Deviants. Most of these musicians would soon become known as The Pink Fairies. This is not a very popular album amongst Deviants fans mainly because it is a radical departure from their Fugs inspired classics. I like this song quite well because it does capture the feeling of progressive rock which these musicians would soon be doing full time. I only remixed the song slightly, speeding it up without changing the pitch. I feel it captures the energy these guys were capable of, and soon would become better known for. I also tweaked the cover a bit so that it is seamless now. I recommend this LP to anyone who loves progressive rock and The Pink Fairies.

Download remix (256 kbps wma)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Les Baxter-Bora Bora OST (VBR)

Bora Bora was a romantic film directed by Ugo Liberatore filmed in 1968 and released in 1970. This is an excellent soundtrack by the renowned Les Baxter, and exceptional in that it is a real return to his exotica sound. There is a 1960's vibe that makes his lush sound more modern, but it is classic Baxter magic otherwise. There is a good copy of this on Xtabay's World, it is a 128 kbps rip direct from vinyl and it is best for vinyl purists. I remastered his copy so that the eq brings out the highs a bit more, adjusted volumes and stereo seperation and added fades to the end of tracks. LAME assigned a higher bitrate to these remasters, but it is audibly the same as the 128kpbs version. No disrespect is intended to the amazing Xtabay blog, and I will remove this if the original ripper or author wishes.

Download Bora Bora

The End Of Violence (OST and Score)

Wim Wender's films are such a treasure, not only are they cinematic masterpieces, but the soundtracks are always exquisite. I was sickened to discover that both the Songs and Score to this film are both out of print in the US. There is music by U2, Tom Waits, Eels, DJ Shadow, Los Lobos and a Brian Eno remix of a previously unreleased Roy Orbison tune just to name a few of the gems on the Soundtrack. Also there is another CD of the original score written and performed by Ry Cooder and his son Jachim, with the help of Jon Hassel, Howie B, and Jim Keltner to name a few. Both Soundtrack and score are out of print which is inconceivable to me. So here is a link to download both. I also recommend the film to anyone who hasn't seen it, it may not be one of Wender's finest films, but it offers plenty.

Download Soundtrack and Score

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Homer And Jethro Collection

This is everything I could find by Homer & Jethro, I own their best of collection on vinyl and a couple of songs on CD collections, everything else was found on the internet. 33 songs spanning almost their entire career including 2 instrumental numbers that showcase their talents as musicians. The quality of the sources varies drastically, but I have attempted to smooth out the scratches, eq and volume differences. I would love to find a copy of them doing I Want To Hold Your Hand so if anyone has that, please let me know. These fellas were funny, talented and deserving of more CD releases than they currently have. For more information on these two go to their wiki link, or their page at the Country Music Hall Of Fame.

Download Link (VBR LAME)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Les Baxter-Kaleidoscope (1955)

This was an LP that my parents bought to play at parties, and I loved it since I was very young. Instead of being a concept album it is mostly a very mixed bag with a wide range of styles. The biggest treats on this album are Tropicana, Blue Tango, Julie and Atlantis. Tropicana was the song that really turned me on to this album and Les Baxter as an artist. It displays most of Baxter's best talents in a very quick and concise number. Plus the percussion and arrangement show more reckless abandon than most other songs from around 1955. Not to say that the song is sloppy though, it is very tight and precise. But the tom toms and timbales duke it out now and then as if in a boxing match against each other. The dynamics also make the piece seem ferocious at times, sometimes getting louder to really punctuate the ending of a phrase. I can't say enough good things about the song, so I'll leave any further observations up to the listener. Blue Tango is one of his better known pieces and it speaks for itself. Atlantis features really strong lively hand percussion that contrasts beautifully with an exotic flute passage. I didn't expect to share lounge music on my blog, but I noticed that this LP and the song Tropicana are very difficult to find on the internet, so here's my copy. Unfortunately this is the same exact copy that I have been playing since around age 7, so some of the quieter songs suffer from scratches and static. If someone out there has a cleaner copy let me know, I would love to have a copy, until then enjoy this one. I just noticed another vinyl version at a lower bit-rate is available from Thrift Shop DJ .

Download vinyl album (VBR LAME)

UPDATE- I just realized that I owned 5 of these songs on CD so I now made a Hybrid version incorporating my old vinyl with the CD masters, so 5 songs are now from a digital master. If someone has Tropicana from a digital master, I'd love to get a copy.

Download digital/vinyl hybrid (VBR LAME)

URDATE - I made one final version that adds a bit of reverb to the tracks to compensate for noise reduction that was used.

Download Reverb Version