“The Queen Chant (Li Liu E)” (Martin Denny)

While this could be taken as a typical Denny-esque track which adds, in his words, the South Pacific’s “excitement” and “languor,” it’s the latter’s oppressive and stifled listlessness (produced by island exotica music in general) that’s up for discussion here. Structured as a set of linear solos, the swaying tempo becomes a violent swinging, dizzying the (colonial) experience with, eventually, a hard bop-ish insurgency (and response). The final three solos (drums, bongos, and bass) drive it home with sharp intervals leading to high-end fade-outs—making use of muted tones all the while—marking the homeland as (originally) nothing but over-harvested and exhausted in all registers.


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