Adventures in Sound and Music – Part VI:
Roger Allen Baut and Michael Ash Sharbaugh
“Well, Michael, here we go—we’re on our way to Loungetown! It should be a pretty interesting and informative ride, especially since I’m not all that well versed in the genre of music known as lounge music, nor am I particularly fond of it.”
“Actually, there are only a few genres of music that I don’t listen or resonate to. Yes, I do like a bit of trip hop and chillout, but easy listening is under the ‘lounge’ genre, and it’s one of those I don’t dig.” I laughed. “I can, however, appreciate its musicality and its various composers and compositions. Perhaps you can give me a greater appreciation of it Michael. I’m not sure, however, if I would ever listen to it on a regular basis.”
“Yeah,” Michael added, “lounge music is a cool term because it is supposed to designate music one would sit back and chill to while in a bar, lounge, or bachelor pad! Ha! Ha!”
We drove on, and as we approached Loungetown, Michael hummed a little tune that sounded familiar.
“What’s what?” asked Michael.
“Oh, that little tune you’re humming,” I replied.
“Oh, replied Michael, “that’s one of my favorite songs that I feel represents lounge. It’s called ‘Love Today, Cry Tomorrow’ by Cyril Stapleton. It’s got a fine Latin beat behind it. So what don’t you like about it Roger?” Michael inquired.
“Oh,” I replied, “I find most of lounge to be rather bland, like the old ‘elevator music’ that we used to hear in department stores.”
“Well, I grew up with that stuff in the early 70s. Reminds me of shopping for toys in the department stores! Hah!,” Michael retorted. “Here.” Michael pulled out his tablet and played a breathy tune. “This is ‘Half-Forgotten Daydreams’ by John Cameron—the vocal inspiration for my own ‘Venusian Smile’!”
“Well,” I added, “I guess the music is still there like it is in the grocery store I shop at. Perhaps,” I went on with a laugh, “it should be called grocery music? One of its good points is that it can be very relaxing, and some compositions have been termed easy listening, of which I’m sure you’re aware Michael.”
“Absolutely, Roger. Easy listening—beside exotica—is one of my fave lounge music sub-genres!,” chimed Michael. “Easy listening—also known as light music—is a genre of music that seems to ‘tone down’ heavy orchestral arrangements. You know—‘serious’ music like Mozart and Wagner. It’s been ‘round since the late 19th century, and likely came about in response to the heavy Romanticism of the time. The tunes are usually written in pop fashion: verse, chorus, verse, and chorus. The instrumentation includes piano and sweeping strings prominently, but also features Latin rhythms, vibraphone, flute, harpsichord, bells, and muted trumpets. I also love how easy listening and light music feature breathy, yet percussive, soft voices that deliver much of the texture! Bop-bop-a-do!”
“You know, Michael, when I was doing a bit of research into the lounge sound, I found a lot of cross-over between lounge, easy listening, chillout, et cetera. I found one group that I especially liked called Soma Sonic. Soma is said to be downtempo, lounge, and a couple other styles blended together. That I liked! They were from Canada and played in the late 1990s.”
Michael chimed in, “Well, yah know Roger, lounge does have a nice connection to easy listening and was quite popular in the 50s and 60s, and lingered on ‘til the 1970s. It can still be found being played on some radio stations or purchased on CDs now in the mid-2010s. Some of the early innovators of this style were the legendary David Rose and Burt Bacharach. Rose and Bacharach were leading composers in the field and wrote many different songs and music that were heard in movies and on television. Andy Williams was also a giant in the music industry; his style has been often likened to easy listening and lounge.”
“Well, Michael,” I said, “as we’ve been traveling along through the different genres, I’ve found it quite interesting how many styles of music are combined and blended and that sometimes it’s not easy for me to distinguish what music is what. So I’m wondering if there are really any ‘pure’ forms of music around. What say you, Michael?”
Michael twitched, smirked, and added, “They are all marketing terms, Bud. ‘Music’ is the only ‘pure’ form there is. You either like it or you don’t. Sound is only a medium of expression and artists pull—like in all art forms—from all that they like. It’s marketing execs that throw around the genre names. We, as artists, pigeonhole ourselves when we try to apply them. Alas, though, that is a pathetic answer.”
“Well, Michael that was indeed an interesting journey into Lounge music and it’s always great to get your input and expertise on a subject! Let’s stay over here in Loungetown for a bit before moving on to our next adventure in sound and music. Perhaps we should next visit the folk and folk rock music genre in Folkerville. What do you think?” “Sounds good to me Roger,” Michael replied, “I have a lot of Folk favorites, which should not be a surprise to you.”
“Say Michael,” I said, “let’s head on over to the Loungetown Café. I think you can get a great coffee, cream filled doughnut, and hear some of your favorite sounds there, like ‘Autumn in New York.”
“Sounds good to me Roger,” Michael replied, as he headed in the direction of the café. “Yee haw! Let’s get a move on, Roger!” Michael said, as he ran out of sight!
Roger’s SoundCloud Picks of the Week
Hey there friends and neighbors, here are my SoundCloud picks of the week for Lounge Music. Give a listen, and if you like what you hear, please ‘like,’ and ‘repost’ the tracks you enjoy on SoundCloud, Twitter, and/or Facebook. This is a great opportunity for you to support the creative work of these fine artists.
Have you heard the latest episode of Blue Sky Highway?