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Mondo Exotica: Sounds, Visions, Obsessions of the Cocktail Generation Paperback – Bargain Price, April 25, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


“Crammed with facts about sounds, composers, their histories, reminiscences and a whole lot more, Adinolfi has more than done his research, which , in such a odd, diverse, and obscure field of music, has to be applauded. . . . [A] very worthy edition to any bachelor pad. . . .” - Jonny Trunk, Record Collector

“Adinolfi contextualizes the 1950s exotica trend by placing it within a long history of Western musical exoticism. He ably documents instances of cultural appropriation, from seventeenth-century motifs of the Indies to Mozart’s search for musical expressions evocative of ‘that elusive Turkish flavor’ (37).” - Khalil Anthony Johnson Jr., American Quarterly

Mondo Exotica is essential reading for those interested in twentieth-century American studies, popular musical culture, and twentieth-century visual culture. . . . Ultimately, this work is incredibly engaging and entertaining, equal parts mondo and exotic.” - Kim Cunningham, Visual Studies

“[I]nterviews with some of exotica’s prime movers and shakers, most notably [Martin] Denny, Piero Piccioni and Esquivel, provide additional insight and immediacy to this fascinating study.” - Ken Hollings, The Wire

"Part cult music and record colllectors' delight and part intriguing pop cultural study, Mondo Exotica is . . . a generally entertaining read that sheds some light on how larger cultural, social, and political trends are reflected in popular music." - Chris Heim, KMUW-FM

Mondo Exotica is a cornucopia of data documenting lounge music and culture and their mid-1990s revival. Francesco Adinolfi has written a book that is as fun to read as the lounge lifestyle is fun to live!”—Otto Von Stroheim, DJ, founder of Tiki News, and organizer of the annual Tiki Oasis weekend event

“You want alternative culture? Here’s the real thing. Francesco Adinolfi looks beyond the camp value and discovers the exotic urges that drove a generation that was supposed to be respectable. This terrific book reminds you that some of the most unique records ever made can still be found at your local garage sale—and that it’s never too late to discover how to live.”—Brett Milano, author of The Sound of Our Town: A History of Boston Rock & Roll and Vinyl Junkies: Adventures in Record Collecting

About the Author

Francesco Adinolfi is an Italian journalist and radio host. He oversees the production of “Ultrasuoni,” a weekly music supplement in Il Manifesto, one of Italy’s daily newspapers, and he hosts the radio show Popcorner, a mix of electro lounge, funk, and ultrabossa. Previously, he hosted Ultrasuoni Cocktail, a cult hit program on Rai Radio 2, Italy’s national station. The author of the book Suoni dal ghetto: La musica rap dalla strada alle hit-parade, he has written for magazines including Melody Maker, Sounds, and Record Mirror (Great Britain); Revoluciones Por Minuto (Spain), Music Express (Canada), Juke (Australia); and Crossbeat (Japan). Karen Pinkus is Professor of French, Italian, and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. She is the author of The Montesi Scandal: The Death of Wilma Montesi and the Birth of the Paparazzi in Fellini’s Rome and Bodily Regimes: Italian Advertising under Fascism. Jason Vivrette is a graduate student in comparative literature at the University of California, Berkeley.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (April 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822341565
  • ASIN: B008SM1SRG
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,945,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By B. Richardson on June 18, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love lounge music in all its many incarnations: space age pop, exotica, spy music, crime jazz, etc. I was hoping this would be a nice companion to the two other books on the genre. Unfortunately, it only half lived up to the promise.

It just gets too many facts wrong. Big ones and little ones. The author totally buys into the "myths" of Korla Pandit, Chaino and others without finding their true stories. Biographies of other artists are oddly brief.
In addition, the author ignores the music scene in England, France, and South America. How can one write a book about this period of music and not mention the influence of the Brazilian Bossa Nova artists?

On the other hand, it does fill in a lot of blanks in the histories of Italian film music composers and offers a very useful catalog of artists and their albums. For that, it's almost worth the money. I wish the author had done the entire book on the Italian music world.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Claude Mccan on February 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
Francesco Adinolfi certainly knows his subject, as "Mondo Exotica" is an exhaustive musicological examination of the history and social aspects of Exotica and Lounge music. This book is not for those with only casual interest in the subject, and it can be quite a challenging read.For those of us who share Adinolfi's obsession with the cocktail generation, however, it offers a lot of pertinent information and analysis. My only complaint is that a for a genre filled with such fascinating visual components the lack of any photographs whatsoever diminishes its appeal somewhat. I would have enjoyed seeing what the Shell club and other lounges looked like as well as some reproductions of Exotica LP covers, but maybe that is an "American" thing. Anyway, you have got to appreciate the fact that Adinolfi has really done his homework and this book is probably the last word on it's unusual subject.
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