All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

240

Sex Mob: Sexotica

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Sex Mob, a riotous avant party band, dedicates its fourth album to the father of exotica, Martin Denny. The group dabbled in subtle electronic production techniques with renowned hip-hop producer Scotty Hard on 2003's Dime Store Grind (Ropeadope). Assisted by the production team of GoodandEvil (Danny Blume and Chris Castagno), Sex Mob travels further afield here into electro-acoustic soundscapes.

While plumbing the depths of exotica for inspiration may seem a bit passé—the mid-1990s were the high point of retro-lounge nostalgia—Sex Mob's interpretation of Denny's music and exotica in general is wholly original. The group's deviant take on his mysterious island moods and jungle rhythms is one of noir atmosphere, dramatic tension and squalling fervor, with clamorous horns sailing over ominous, pulsating bass and surging trance rhythms. This is not your father's desert island.

Founder, writer, arranger and slide trumpet virtuoso Steven Bernstein leads his longstanding quartet through this mysterious journey. Saxophonist Briggan Krauss has the capacity to peel paint with his acidic tone and kinetic phrasing, but rather than spewing out circuitous blast furnace lullabies, this album generally finds him sputtering dissonant, minimal phrases for GoodandEvil to loop and process into riffs and breaks. Bassist Tony Scherr and drummer Kenny Wollesen drive the bottom end with solid, dense grooves and pummeling vamps. Scherr's fat bass tone dominates, while Wollesen's drum set, miked like a rock kit, adds punch to the heavyweight rhythms.

A number of pop music conventions are embraced here; horns are run through layers of reverb, while the whole ensemble is sampled, cut and pasted into its own performance. Bernstein's excellent arranging and boisterous horn charts provide an organic focal point in this post-production-heavy environment. Dominated by studio manipulation, these tunes are often relegated to theme and variation-based grooves; only on "Dick Contino's Blues" do the band members really get a chance to let loose and solo at length.

Bernstein, the principal soloist, tends to play short melodic variations without ever veering too far from the main melody. Less improvisational than Sex Mob's past efforts and more concerned with atmosphere, mood and groove, Sexotica is first and foremost a party record. Granted, it is likely the most meticulously arranged and composed party album to come along in quite some time, but that's still what it is. Put it on at your next luau ... or fetish party.


Track Listing: Pygmy Suite; Martin Denny; Exotique; Luvin Blume; Quiet; Oakland; Dick Contino's Blues; Kid Rock Deluxe; 7 Bars.

Personnel: Steven Bernstein: slide trumpet, mellophones, vocals; Briggan Krauss: alto saxophone, baritone saxophone; Tony Scherr: acoustic bass, acoustic guitar, vocals; Kenny Wollesen: drums, percussion, bird whistles, vibraphone; Mike Dillon: tablas; Good and Evil (Danny Blume and Chris Kelly): programming hijinks.

Title: Sexotica | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Thirsty Ear Recordings

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Exotique

Exotique

Sexmob
Sexotica

In Pictures
CD/LP/Track Review
Best of / Year End
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Cultural Capital

Cultural Capital

Rex Records
2017

buy
Cinema, Circus & Spaghetti (Sex Mob Plays Fellini: The Music of Nino...

Cinema, Circus &...

Royal Potato Family
2013

buy
 

Live In Willisau 2006

Knitting Factory Works
2009

buy
Sex Mob Meets Medeski

Sex Mob Meets Medeski

Thirsty Ear Recordings
2009

buy
Sexotica

Sexotica

Thirsty Ear Recordings
2006

buy
Dime Grind Palace

Dime Grind Palace

Knitting Factory Works
2003

buy

View All Events

Create Widget | Open RSS Feed

Date Time Detail Price
Sep20Thu 7:30 pm 7:30 pm
Sexmob
The Royal Room
Seattle, WA

Related Articles

Read Fat Daddy CD/LP/Track Review
Fat Daddy
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Short Stories CD/LP/Track Review
Short Stories
by Gareth Thompson
Published: September 19, 2018
Read UHHM CD/LP/Track Review
UHHM
by John Bricker
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Decoy CD/LP/Track Review
Decoy
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller CD/LP/Track Review
Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Change In The Air CD/LP/Track Review
Change In The Air
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 18, 2018
Read "When It All Makes Sense" CD/LP/Track Review When It All Makes Sense
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 3, 2018
Read "A New Shade Of Blue" CD/LP/Track Review A New Shade Of Blue
by Chris May
Published: August 21, 2018
Read "Modern Lore" CD/LP/Track Review Modern Lore
by Gareth Thompson
Published: January 27, 2018
Read "Life Anthem" CD/LP/Track Review Life Anthem
by Don Phipps
Published: April 14, 2018
Read "Organ Monk Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Organ Monk Blue
by Jerome Wilson
Published: January 13, 2018
Read "From Beyond" CD/LP/Track Review From Beyond
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 7, 2018