Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Magic Islands Revisited - Part 1

An odd addition to my song downloads I know, but I thought this was too interesting to pass-up.

So, on the sidebar (and to the right of this post) you'll find a link to download a track from Axel Stordahl's: The Magic Islands Revisited (44.8MB) (when they were first visited is still a mystery), but it is neat for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it's over fifteen minutes long. Yes, it's long. Now, mammoth duration doesn't always mean good listening, but this track is justified, and it is basically the length of a record's A Side - in fact that's exactly what it is. Clearly the person who ripped it thought it was worth preserving as a continuous track, and was right to do so in my opinion. The result is six short songs put together in a really neat way, and is a really neat listen ... which leads us to the second thing: this is great exotica.

Stordahl was, firstly, a Norwegian (so I instantly like him!), but secondly and debatably more importantly, he was a fantastic composer. This gathering of tracks is a wonderful interpretation of some of the lesser known (but still very enigmatic) exotica pieces of the day.

Initially and in proper form, we're introduced to some ambient sounds; birds harking in the forest or some similarly mysterious locale. Then the music begins and with typical early 1950's charm, we're treated to a great reimagining of 'Return To Paradise' with the vocals and instrumentals featuring an evident vinyl-tinged brightness, after which 'E Naughty Naughty Mai Nei' provides a somewhat jolting diversion from the next few songs with energetic, punchy vocals (which in my view are fun, but almost too much due to the quality of the recording). 'Paradise' however, is brilliant and possibly my favourite on this album, with smooth, flowing instrumentals moving us into a great version of Jack Owens' 'Hukilau' (at about 09:20). A jazzy version of 'My Tani' follows with some chilled out flute and rhythm sticks, before we finally hit 'Forevermore' adapted but still capturing Milt Raskin's charismatic somberness and mystery.

At some point I will upload the second installment, Side B, it's a little more easy-going and also is more focused on the quieter stuff, with some wonderfully visual instrumentals (if that's possible). For now though, I think this is enough to digest. This is a really great find and I really enjoy listening to it while I'm working. I hope you enjoy too!



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