Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Surfboard (1967) – Esquivel (Antônio Carlos Jobim)

Arguably, the 1994 Bar None release of Space Age Bachelor Pad Music, which compiled sundry Juan García Esquivel selections, was single-handedly responsible for the mid-century modern revival of the mid-1990s. Its quirky ebullience opened the door for a new generation to lounge in the futuristic atmosphere that the modernists crafted in their architecture, their furniture, their fashion, their cocktails, their music. Capturing this aesthetic, Esquivel’s adaptation of this zippy Antônio Carlos Jobim instrumental is an ambrosial mixture of Star Trek otherworldliness and downtown department store shopping excursion whimsy. Esquivel imbues intrigue, caprice and zest into the exoticism inherent in Jobim’s compositions. “Surfboard” washes ashore on a swell of cymbal and trumpet exclamations, receding to staccato driblets of casino organ, syncopated pecks of wood block, and isochronal dabs of double bass that samba in simpatico rapport. Throughout, celestial female vocables “oohoohoohoohooooh” in astral etherealness, beedoopbeedahbeedoopbeedaah” fancifully, and “bopbopbopbopbopbopbopbop” with gusto. A hollow-body guitar sneaks furtively through the atrium of an Eichler to partake of splendid vistas through the ceiling-high glass panes of an Eames-adorned living room. At times, Esquivel’s arrangement blends its elements so well, audio mirages insinuate themselves: Is that a duo of women shrieking along with the trumpets in the introduction? Is there whistling along with the organ in the second verse? Such indistinctness enhances the vagaries. In embracing the leisurely modus vivendi of space age bachelors, “Surfboard” serves up a sonic slice of suburban utopia for an artifical atomic age.

  • Not available from iTunes Music Store.
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