Feel USA: Lazercrotch

Smells like USA. Feel the true spirit of American pop music in short (but not a dwarf) playlist by John Calvin Murphy aka Lazercrotch, skweee producer from Portland.


Les Baxter. Pioneer of early Exotica music and an early believer in the theremin, which is basically the first synthesizer. Baxter scored many films and his music embodies 50’s & 60’s science fiction as well as America’s fascination with tropical paradises and all things primitive during that era. While Exotica music did enjoy somewhat of a revival in the 1990’s, it was short-lived and I do not believe this music receives the credit it deserves. Many write it off as “easy listening” but it is much deeper than that.

Martin Denny. Another master of Exotica who got his start playing Tiki music for soldiers in World War II era Hawaii. His music harkened back to the primitive and members of his band synthesized bird calls and animal sounds with their own voices, blending it in with bongo drums and other hand percussion while Denny tickled the piano. He would also adopt the Moog synthesizer, reimagining some of his otherworldly numbers on the album “Exotic Moog”.

James Brown. I had heard some funky music before I heard James Brown, but I don’t think I really understood Funk until I really listened to James Brown. His music is so potent and it injects itself immediately into your spirit and can make a toaster or a trash can look sexy. His influence can be found all over and exists even when it’s not on the surface. The feeling and energy he brought has never been repeated and probably will never be.

John Carpenter. As if making all of those amazing 80’s horror films was not enough, this man also made the soundtracks to many of them with synthesizers. In doing so he has helped bring synthesizers to the forefront of our culture. Many musicians, myself included, have been influenced by this “music” that wasn’t necessarily intended to be music in the first place. I got a chance to see Mr. Carpenter playing many of his compositions live with his son, Cody, and a small band of younger musicians (drums, bass, guitar) this year and it was incredible! His sense of humor was remarkable and something that I think is very important to retain not only in music but with life in general. Skweee has this quality. It doesn’t take itself too seriously

Herbie Hancock. A jazz legend but also an early visionary of the synthesizer, he often brought an affection for synthesizer technology to his already brilliant compositions. That resulted in him always being at the forefront or cutting edge of music. “Rockit” is sort of an 80’s anthem to me.

Zapp & Roger. Sort of like James Brown in outer space, Roger Troutman and Zapp might be the funkiest thing that ever happened. Unfortunately, Roger was gunned down by his brother over some bullshit. Thankfully he left us with several funky albums that are just dripping with synth bass, glistening vocoder vocals, and the best clap ever.


December 12, 2016

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