SPACE AGE POP MUSIC RELATED WITH EXOTICA AND LOUNGE MUSIC
The next time you are looking for some music on an app, YouTube, or maybe if you have a turntable and you are searching through a vinyl record store; look for Juan Garcia Esquivel, or commonly Esquivel! Even if you do not know that name, it is very likely you have heard his music before. He was a Mexican bandleader and composer, and he is known as The King of Space Age Pop. A genre that is distinct and unique, yet often hard to give a specific definition. In a nutshell Space Age Pop was popular during the late 1950s and early 1960s, a time period of economic prosperity and never before seen advances in science. This is what this genre of music represented, that feel good easy listening feeling from the dawn of the Space Age.
Space Age Pop or Space Age Bachelor Pad Music is a form of Lounge music, a genre that has a variety of off shoots and has inspired many since it's inception. The purpose of Lounge music was to make the listener feel happy and take them away to another place. A sound that is meant to transport you to a tropical beach, outer space, or somewhere exotic like the jungle. In fact a similar form of Lounge music and Space Age Pop is a genre known as Exotica. This style focused on the fantasy that many Americans had with visiting the South Pacific Islands and the Orient.
Space Age Pop and Exotica are essentially the more adventurous styles of Lounge music. Often the known musicians in Lounge music would play both genres. Esquivel played a mix of all these easy listening styles. What makes these styles so quirky are their instrumental and vocal arrangements. Space Age Pop often included very talented piano and keyboard playing, exotic drums and percussion, bells, sometimes silly vocals or nonsense words sung in chorus, and often string orchestration to create a dense musical landscape. Many non-traditional instruments were used and they were all specifically arranged and composed with very little improvisation. Exotica used jungle cat sounds, bird calls, and tribal sounding rhythms to transport the listener, to a frankly different and exotic place!
The distinctive sound of Space Age Pop and Exotica rely heavily on the variety of different instruments and the amazing arrangements the composer and musicians created with them. When you take percussion from Latin America and the South Pacific, mix in some upbeat strings and virtuoso piano; you get a very unique and uplifting sound. Many people today think of easy listening as something you hear in an elevator or grocery store, kind of bland and boring to some. However Space Age Pop is just the opposite, it is uplifting and will often put the listener in a better mood.
Lounge music like Space Age Pop and Exotica is something that must be listened to, in a variety of pieces, to truly be appreciated. It is not a genre that fits into a specific rule or pattern; there are a variety of songs and composers that make it a unique style. While most composers of this genre were at their height during the late 1950s and early 1960s, there have since been occasional resurgences in this adventurous lounge music. In fact many of the original composers also made use of early electronic instruments like Theremins and synthesizers, helping to usher in the technology for modern electronic music. So after you are thoroughly hooked on the great Esquivel, start searching for more Space Age Pop, Exotica, and other Lounge music records, your ears will thank you with a smile.