Because there is so much lazy, careless, appallingly sloppy A&R in the recording industry, A&R people who do their job well should always be applauded. And when it comes to A&R, Putumayo has been thoughtful and intelligent more often than not. Putumayo's A&R people usually do a lot of hard thinking when they assemble a compilation, which is why world music enthusiasts hold the company in such high regard. A good example of Putumayo's thoughtfulness is Euro Lounge, which takes a look at the more melodic world/electronica experimentation that has been coming from Europe. Some world/electronica fusion can be forceful, abrasive, dissonant, and hyper, but Euro Lounge doesn't get into any of Europe's rave-friendly techno/world sounds. This compilation focuses primarily on Europe's more melodic, relaxed world/club fare -- in other words, chill-out grooves for club hounds who are into world music. And in the 21st century, that could be anything from downtempo mixed with Brazilian music to trip-hop/Middle Eastern hybrids. Most of the artists on Euro Lounge come from various European countries, including Italy (Daniele Silvestri, Bandabardo, Gabin, S-Tone Inc.), Belgium (Gare du Nord), and Spain (Mastretta). But their influences aren't strictly European. Gabin, for example, brings a Brazilian influence to "Sweet Sadness," while S-Tone Inc. is very Indian-influenced on "Limbe." And some of the artists on Euro Lounge don't actually live in Europe. Ilhan Ersahin, for example, is a part-Turkish, part-Swedish jazz saxophonist who was born in Stockholm but now lives in New York. The John Coltrane-influenced Ersahin has recorded some memorable post-bop albums, but "Girl" isn't jazz -- it's an enjoyably moody blend of downtempo and Turkish pop. Full of surprises, Euro Lounge is yet another appealing example of the sort of hard thinking that usually goes into Putumayo's compilations.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson