Various Artists

Easy Tempo, Vol. 5: Slammin' Cinematic Experience

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Although it bills itself as "a slammin' cinematic experience," the subtitle of Easy Tempo, Vol. 5 is a misnomer: more than half the tracks on this compilation are lifted from easy listening or lounge records instead of soundtrack albums. Despite this bit of truth-bending, all the tracks flow together nicely regardless of their origin because they all share a similar combination of slick production and insistent rhythms. Pretty much everything on this disc sounds like it could have been used as a nightclub's background music in a 1960s or 1970s European film. In fact, a lot of the tracks are straight-up dance music: Tony Mimms' "Vuca (Wake Up)" layers a jazzy trumpet lead over an infectious bossa nova groove from the rhythm section, and Dick Oliver's energetic cover of the James Brown instrumental "The Chicken" creates an intensely funky feel by combining gritty, soulful organ licks with a swinging, exuberant horn arrangement. Other tracks parlay gentler, more loungey melodies while managing to maintain the set's overall emphasis on punchy rhythms: Luis Enriquez Bacalov's "Anice Nuraghi" juxtaposes its moody saxophone lead with strong Latin percussion, and "Blazing Magnum" is an Armando Trovajoli soundtrack cue that combines jazzy horns and airy strings over an insistent drum beat. A few cuts miss the mark (M. Migliardi's "Apollo Beat" is too psychedelic and guitar heavy to fit in with the rest of the album), but Easy Tempo, Vol. 5 delivers more than enough strong cuts to please fans who like their lounge music with a danceable beat.

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