Sex Mob Sexotica

Sex Mob Sexotica
Sex Mob have always twisted the avant-garde into crowd pleasing grooves, but sometimes the sheer drollness of it all made it difficult to fully appreciate the musicianship. This is my favourite of their recordings, an even stronger follow-up to the very credible Dime Grind Palace. Inspired by Martin Denny’s exotica flourishes, there are some spooky sounding percussion pieces, bird samples, majestic gongs, and bamboo flute noises. The production (by frequent Thirsty Ear collaborators Goodandevil) sets Sexotica apart from the rest of their catalogue. There are pronounced dub influences, well-deployed turntable accents and humorous vocal snatches that play up the cultural sampling that marked Denny’s work. As usual, the charts are simply excellent, making complex harmonies sing and swing. Much of the kit drumming is subsumed under electric and acoustic percussion grooves, and the acoustic bass is far more prominent as a rhythmic element than the kit. At times this resembles Philip Glass’s Koyaanisqatsi work, suggesting a new kind of rhythm music that takes advantage of the studio and the languages of other instruments. But Sexotica retains its jazz feeling; they have a penchant for New Orleans funeral marches and soul jazz-based horns that break down into dub as soon as they build up. This is a fresh take on the Thirsty Ear ethos.

Sexotica is inspired in part by the work of Martin Denny. How do you translate his inspirations into your music? Leader Stephen Bernstein: For me, the music of Martin Denny is the inspiration, not the mood. His notes and harmonies inspired these compositions, then we layered percussion in deference to his orchestration but playing in our style. The 21st century exotica is provided by Goodandevil.

The production technique on this new album is quite different than in the past, it’s much more studio-wise. What inspired this shift? This project is a collaboration between Sex Mob and Goodandevil. Although I composed the songs and directed the overdubs, they had complete control after that.

Considering the edits and brilliant use of delay on the disc, will you need to change your live approach to perform this album on stage? We never perform any of our albums on stage, we just play the show we want to play. Well… occasionally we do Sex Mob Does Bond (their album of John Barry Bond themes) in Europe for lots of money. (Thirsty Ear)