Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Ape - Jungle Gemsdotdotdotdot
artworkSouth Bay surf veteran Frank Novicki is a member of Ape, and he brings his pedigree into the mix. This is a splendid CD of original sounds that is just plain fun! A couple of jungle sound effects tracks and two vocals are included, the twenties-styled "I'm Pau," and the playfully fun "Barbados Carnival."
Picks: Papia Tahiti Nui, Jumping Beans, Missorlou, Hawaiian War Chant, La Cubalibra, Hawaiian China Doll, The Endless Summer, Bell's Beach, Pass The Hatchet, Hilo March, Na Pali Drums, Caravan, Kalima Waltz

Track by Track Review

Papia Tahiti Nui dotdotdot
Lap Steel Exotica (Instrumental)

"The Jungle Calls" is a bouncy song with lap steel lead and light weight rhythms. Nicely mixed and very entertaining.

Jumping Beans dotdotdot
Latin Exotica (Instrumental)

An interesting beat, tropical acoustic guitar, liquid bass, and eventually dueling dry guitar lines play nicely together to create an very playful song. "Jumping Beans" rises to the challenge of its name.

Missorlou dotdotdotdotdot
Surf Exotica (Instrumental)

The middle eastern pop song turned surf standard bearer by way of belly dances and finger cymbals gets yet another facelift. Delicate surf guitar dances with jazzy guitar and bachelor pad rhythms like some time warp frustrated traveler. Unsure of its identity, this is ultimately a brilliant track. As far as original arrangements go, it's right up there with the splendid Tiki Tiki Bamboooos version, just a whole lot lighter. Very cool!

Hawaiian War Chant dotdotdotdot
Polynesian Exotica (Instrumental)

The silky lap steel makes "Hawaiian War Chant" sing with delight. This is both an original arrangement and a very cool cover. It's about as cheesy-fun as the Halibuts' version, but with more Cheese-Whiz. Very fine indeed!

La Cubalibra dotdotdot
Cuban Exotica (Instrumental)

"La Cubalibra" is bouncy and playful, with a Latin melody and rhythm, and innocent party fun. Great drums.

Hawaiian China Doll dotdotdotdot
Chinese Exotica (Instrumental)

Delicate surf reverb plays an Oriental melody with reverence and charm. "Hawaiian China Doll" is slow and gentle, like an evening in pre-Communist china. This is reminiscent of the amazingly rare Beautiful Spring album, but is much more artful and less cheesy. Quite a nice track.

The Endless Summer dotdotdotdot
Surf Exotica (Instrumental)

What a nice version of this film classic. A little faster, with silky lap steel lead, and complete with chorus. It's like a liquefied rendering of an all-to-often duplicated song. This is both very reverent and completely refreshing. Excellent!

Bell's Beach dotdotdot
Latin Exotica (Instrumental)

"Bell's Beach" blends playful Latin sounds with country banjo for a fresh and fun experience. The melody is catchy and the arrangement fun.

Pass The Hatchet dotdotdotdot
Jungle Lumberjack Surf (Instrumental)

"Pass The Hatchet" blends jungle grunts and monkey cries with surf guitar and sultry bass. This is a very unusual song with unique construction and some very interesting juxtapositions. It's hard not to grin, yet it's easy to take seriously. Excellent!

Hilo March dotdotdotdotdot
Lap Steel Surf (Instrumental)

"Hilo March" is a mighty bouncy and fun song contrasting double picked surf rhythm guitar against lap steel lead. It's more than fun with its blend of the tropics and the curl. Way cool!

Na Pali Drums dotdotdot
Sound Effects (Instrumental)

The shore break laps the sand. The ceremonial drums announce the coming of the procession. Delicate plucks and jabs arise from time to time amid the percussion, but it's really a drum solo. "Na Pali Drums" also acts as an introduction to "Caravan."

Caravan dotdotdotdot
Tribal Country Surf (Instrumental)

With reverence to Duke Ellington's "Caravan" amid country and the tropics, Ape make this venerable classic their own with a fresh arrangement full of vitality and catchy rhythms. Excellent!

Kalima Waltz dotdotdot
Island Vacation (Instrumental)

Closing out the CD, "Kalima Waltz" is done in the most traditional Polynesian tourist way of any track here. Pretty and breezy, it invokes island imagery in every phrase.