Esquivel – Other Worlds, Other Sounds

More Exotica

More Easy Listening

  • This early Living Stereo pressing has wonderful Double Plus (A+++) or BETTER sound from first note to last- fairly quiet vinyl too
  • Both sides are spacious and open, yet rich and and oh-so-Tubey Magical, with brass that has little to none of the “blarey” quality that plagues so many copies
  • Folks, I can tell you right now, most original Living Stereo Popular (LSP) pressings, of this or any other LSP title, do not begin to recreate the Studio Wizardry found on this 1958 album
  • “Its real significance is as the moment where Esquivel takes control of his production and develops his signature sound… This is the promise of the future.” – All Music, 4 Stars

This vintage Living Stereo pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for —this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What the Best Sides of Other Worlds, Other Sounds Have to Offer Is Not Hard to Hear

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1958
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren’t veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we’ve heard them all.

Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently, the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural air and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.

Tube smear is common to most vintage pressings and this is no exception. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.

What We’re Listening For on Other Worlds, Other Sounds

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Granada
Begin The Beguine
Night And Day
Poinciana
Playfully
Adiós

Side Two

That Old Black Magic
Nature Boy
Magic Is The Moonlight (Te Quiero Dijiste)
Speak Low
Ballerina
It Had To Be You

AMG Review

Other Worlds Other Sounds may be the best known Esquivel album because of its sensational jacket art portraying a red-caped woman prancing across a green planetary landscape. Its real significance is as the moment where Esquivel takes control of his production and develops his signature sound. The chorus (the Randy Van Horne Singers) begins the “zu zu zu” nonsense beloved by Esquivel fans, and the playfulness with stereophonic separation begins here…. This is the promise of the future.

Wikipedia’s Entry for Esquivel

Esquivel is considered the king of a style of late 1950s-early 1960s quirky instrumental pop known today as Lounge music. Esquivel’s musical style was highly idiosyncratic, and although elements sound like his contemporaries, many stylistic traits distinguished his music and made it instantly recognizable, including exotic percussion, wordless vocals, virtuoso piano runs, and exaggerated dynamic shifts. He used many jazz-like elements; however, other than his piano solos, there is no improvisation, and the works are tightly, meticulously arranged by Esquivel himself, who considered himself a perfectionist as a composer, performer, and recording artist.

His orchestration tended toward the very lush, employing novel instrumental combinations, such as Chinese bells, mariachi bands, whistling, and numerous percussion instrument, which he blended with an orchestra, a mixed chorus, and his own heavily-ornamented piano style. The chorus was often called upon to sing only nonsense syllables, most famously “zu-zu” and “pow!” A survey of Esquivel’s recordings reveals a fondness for glissandi, sometimes on a half-valved trumpet, sometimes on a kettle drum, but most frequently on pitched percussion instruments and slide guitars.

Esquivel’s use of stereo recording was legendary, occasionally featuring two bands recording simultaneously in separate studios, such as on his album Latin-Esque (1962). The song “Mucha Muchacha” makes particularly mind-bending use of the separation, with the chorus and brass rapidly alternating stereo sides.

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