Sometime in the mid-'90s, after an interview/feature in the first volume of Re/Search: Incredibly Strange Music, there was a HUGE kitsch crush on composer Martin Denny. In the feature, he described his music as: "just window dressing familiar tunes. I can take a tune like 'Flamingo' and give it a tropical feel, in my style. In my arrangement of a Japanese farewell song, 'Sayonara,' I include a Japanese three-stringed instrument, the shamisen. We distinguished each song by a different ethnic instrument, usually on top of a semi-jazz or Latin beat."
Yes, exactly, and it was a winning formula, but he could get real far out too; the lazy pace, exotic instruments, and layered arrangements can become the soundtrack of your best cartoon dream and his dreamy moog experiments have earned a respected spot in my record collection. Well, as he was often reworking radio pop, I reckon it makes sense he'd give the Strawberry Alarm Clock's pop sike hit "Incense and Peppermints" his "exotic" treatment!!
What a cool balance of "cool" and easy exploitation expansion. Maybe it 'cause I'm older, but I dig the subtle psychedelic flourishes of easy/exploitative these easy guys would employ. Just, dig the expansiveness of the song "Hypnotique." I suggest you play that track on repeat, instead of the Pink Floyd, the next time you find yourself studying for a London Social Degree or perhaps seeing Ms. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds 'cause I'm sure you'll see SOMETHING you didn't expect to hear.