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In the mid-’90s, Juan Garcia Esquivel enjoyed one of the most unexpected resurgences of popularity — and hipness — in the annals of 20th-century pop. The composer and arranger skirted the lines between lounge music, eccentric experimentalism, and stereo sound pioneer in the late ’50s and early ’60s on a series of albums aimed at the easy listening market. Both cheesy and goofily unpredictable, these records were forgotten by all but thrift-store habitues for decades. With the space age pop/exotica revival of the mid-’90s, however, Esquivel was not just being rediscovered, but was being championed as a cutting-edge innovator by certain segments of the hipper-than-thou alternative crowd.

Traditionally the most sought after and highest valued Esquivel record, More of Other Sounds Other Worlds should be considered in context. First, it is not a sequel to the RCA record of three years earlier. The title only reflects Stanley Wilson’s desire to record Esquivel since having heard the earlier LP. Second, the label switch is significant. Reprise, a division of Warner Bros., started out giving old masters a fresh shot (hence the name). While the dual 35mm film recording process is played up, it is more important that new people are involved after hi-fi and stereo have become old hat. (Another great, similar “Reprise” from this period is Les Baxter’s return to exotica in The Primitive and the Passionate.) The album begins with “The Breeze and I (Andalucia),” a brassy bullfighting number. “Street Scene” and “One for My Baby (And One More for the Road)” belong to the bluesy urban crime jazz idiom. The rest of the album is typical of the style of Esquivel’s later U.S. RCA work. While not his quirkiest or most sensational, it is among his best and most interesting.

-AMG

DOWNLOAD:
Esquivel-MORE OF OTHER WORLDS, OTHER SOUNDS (1962)
320kbps

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