If you're new to the long-gone world of Exotica music, this is NOT a beginners album. A great exotica album to start with would be Robert Drasnin's "Voodoo" or Vol. 1 from Capitol Records "Ultra Lounge" series. Having said that, this is a nice, calm entry in the Arthur Lyman library. Lyman's style of exotica was much softer than that of Martin Denny and Les Baxter, highlighting his soothing vibraphone over birdcalls and mild percussion. Sometimes you hear someone talk about something that "really speaks" to them. This is an album that will not speak to you, it will whisper. Lyman is one of the masters of exotica, and this is supreme Hawaiian lounge music, performed as quietly as possible.
At first, when you put this album on and lay down to relax, you will suspect something is wrong with your stereo speakers. The sounds here are so soft, you'll barely hear it, and you'll get up to raise the volume. You'll notice the music moving along at a moderate pace. Lyman's vibraphone sounds attractive but the melody of each tune never takes hold because all you want to do is fall for the mood of the music rather than the song itself. Babies and grandparents alike could relax to this record or anybody else who needs help while trying to take a nap. "Hawaiian Sunset" isn't as cartoonish as so many other exotica records, this is intended to put you to sleep while planting dreams for you of a vacation on the isle of Maui. The music on this album is barely noticeable, and I think Arthur Lyman intended it that way.