various artists,
Euro Lounge
(Putumayo, 2003)

Putumayo continues its trend of releasing unbeatable collections with Euro Lounge. This compilation is designed to showcase a hip way of chilling out. Lounge music is essentially down-tempo electronica that is almost background music, yet the groove is just poignant enough to make the listener take notice.

I thoroughly enjoyed Putumayo's World Lounge CD when it was released in 2002. Euro Lounge continues in the same vein, simply focused on the one continent.

Like World, there is not a bad track on Euro. It is a little hard to pick favorites, but I will mention just a few. S-Tone Inc. from Italy has a smooth track with "Limbe (Limbo)." Guest singer Laura Fedele joins her delicate vocals to DJ Stefano Tirone's '60s psychedelica sound. The music is punctuated by Indian sitar and a bhangra beat.

"Girl" by Ilhan Ersahin of Turkey mixes exotic Arab instrumentation with an electronic beat. Add in some jazzy drums for percussion and a little blues style guitar, topped off with the sexy vocals of Nil Karaibrahimgil and you have quite the song. Nil sings to her lover whom she believes is cheating on her. The pouting, pained emotions come through even if you don't understand the lyrics.

I have to mention Vanja Lazarova from Macedonia. Vanja has been performing folk music for more than 50 years. Vanja is partnered with Kiril, an electronica guru, on the song "Stonjne Bre Mome Kocansko." This traditional Macedonian folk song, backed by a laidback funk sound, is often replayed when I listen to this CD. I guess Vanja proves you can never be too old to chill out.

Other artists on Euro Lounge include Thievery Corporation (USA/France), Mambotur (Germany/Chile), Bossa Nostra (Italy/Brazil), Daniele Silvestri (Italy), Gabin (Italy), Gare Du Nord (Belgium), Mastretta (Spain), Bandabardo (Italy) and Arling & Cameron (The Netherlands).

On any compilation, I generally expect to find at least one or two duds. In the case of Euro Lounge, there isn't one! As you progress from track to track you will find that each one is at least as good as the tune that preceded it. I've said it before and I'll keep saying it until I'm proven wrong: Putumayo releases great CDs. If you liked World Lounge, you will love Euro Lounge. If you haven't heard either but like the thought of chilling out, then both of these CDs might be the place to start.

- Rambles
written by Wil Owen
published 12 July 2003

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