Arthur Lyman – Taboo
CD Album, Reissue, Remastered, 1996
Two ways one can listen to artists like Arthur Lyman, Martin Denny, and 'exotica' recording artists. One, is to fall under the seduction of its imagery and the whole bachelor-space-pad movement thing with all the cocktails and sweet n' sour food attached to that imagery. The other is to take this music as the roots of avant-pop, or serious composition. Without the “Exotica” genre we wouldn't have certain musicians such as Brian Eno, Brian Wilson, Van Dyke Parks, and some would argue Throbbing Gristle. Nevertheless this album is sort of ground zero for that movement with the surgery morning headaches.
Taboo conveys a paradise, but is it natural or man-made. The technology of stereo recordings plus the nature sounds adds up to a world that is blissful, till of course a natural disaster hits. But here we can forget the worry of that as well as any financial anxiety. I imagine that there must have been a ton of stressed-out Americans freaking out about the 1958-era cold-war, and the rise of the consumer class – here is a world that was perfectly painted for the listener. One didn't have to leave the house for this holiday. And on top of that one gets great music. Arthur Lyman (who also played with Martin Denny) is an artist of taste and it is like taking a dip into the bright blue water. But be careful of getting a cramp in the water where you may drawn facing the blue skies of Hawaii.