The Exotica Project’s long-promised next phase is finally up and running:
The Lonely Beat’s format should be familiar, but the collection focuses on post-War music inspired by, or evocative of (sometimes only loosely) the cluster of motifs, images and clichés associated with the mid-century American city. This is a city based in some reality but remade by pop culture - the gritty, dangerous, bohemian Naked City.
Again, the selections are diverse, with a panoply of 45s from different quarters featured: obscure jazz musicians and exotic torch singers, Latin quintets and Hollywood arrangers summoning the city jungle, mambo-crazy R&B vocal groups and instrumental rock ‘n’ roll combos, beatnik parodists, hipster-entertainers and various fringe characters.
I urge that the selections not be read in terms of either authenticity or purely commercial qualities – often they possess some measure of both. I would also urge that the Lonely Beat’s index of motifs and themes not be taken too seriously. The concept is more diffuse than the Exotica Project’s, the collection makes sense gathered together as a sort of world in sound, and its compilation was all subject to my own personal tastes and whims. Selections at the Lonely Beat are included just as much for some indefinable atmospheric component as they are for any discrete, indexed motif.
Anyway, there’s still plenty of tweaking to be done, and much more that I hope ultimately to do with these beds of cultural obscura. In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy the Lonely Beat.