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Tom Recchion

You might not think of exotica as the most likely candidate among music genres for the sci-fi treatment, but that's just what Tom Recchion gives it. The alumnus of the legendary '70s avant-garde collective the Los Angeles Free Music Society deconstructs the familiar Polynesian bounce and tropical flutter that endeared artists like Martin Denny, Esquivel, and Les Baxter to the hearts of many in the '50s (and then again in the '90s). On his aptly titled 1996 Birdman release, Chaotica (actually recorded in 1985-6), Recchion uses prerecorded tape loops, keyboards, and effects to turn exotica into something positively otherworldly. The results are deliciously and dizzyingly strange: this is the music you'd expect to hear in the tiki bar of a 22nd century space station.

Since crafting chaotica isn't exactly lucrative, Recchion's bread and butter over the years has been designing album covers. He has created art for an incredibly eclectic group of artists, including American Music Club, Jane's Addiction, R. Kelly, Alanis Morissette, Prince, R.E.M., Joshua Redman, and Jonathan Richman. Recchion is also involved in Extended Organ, a radical free music project which also features fellow LAFMS alum Fredrik Nilsen.