Friday, November 14, 2014

Space Age Bachelor Pad Maestro

Listening this evening to a compilation of Mexican composer Juan Esquivel's music from the 50s & 60s, bought at the height of the UK's 'lounge' boom in the mid 90s and not played since really.
Equivel (1918-2002) was a product of his era: a bit of big band, film music, mambo, Latin pop, cheesy TV jingles, muzak... but with enough experimentation (theremins, Chinese bells, harpsichord and weird recording techniques) to make it interesting. 
For good measure I also played Perez 'Pred' Prado's Guaglione which was recorded in 1955 and became an unlikely hit 40 years later when it was used in a brilliant Guinness ad. I have that single and it really packs a punch.
It's funny how that music, considered so naff in the 70s & 80s, suddenly became cool & hip in a deeply ironic, retro kind of way in mid-90s Britain, just as Britpop kicked in - both I suppose harking back to the 60s. There were endless compilations, it was constantly on TV and lounge clubs popped up from nowhere. I remember going to one in Brockley, south-east London, about as untrendy a place as you can imagine (and therefore perfect). I seem to recall an excess of velvet, trumpets and bad cocktails. 
I am listening now to Esquivel's Mini Skirt which consists of wolf whistles and someone (Esquivel?) saying "groovy" over a Latin beat. Is this really any good or have we all been hoodwinked?

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