As lounge music experienced an international revival during the 1990s, European record companies discovered that Italian musicians had produced a lot of interesting lounge music during the 1960s and 1970s in the form of soundtracks. An interesting reissue in this vein is Black Emanuelle's Groove, a compilation that collects music from a series of sexy Italian exploitation films inspired by the success of the international hit Emmanuelle. This series, known as the "Black Emanuelle" films, chronicled the erotic adventures of a jet-setting photojournalist played by the exotic Laura Gemser, and became a staple attraction at drive-in's and on cable television. One of the most distinctive elements of these films was their music: each film had a score composed by Nico Fidenco that mixed the jazzy, soulful style of Italian lounge music with exotic touches determined by the film's setting and plot. For instance, Emanuelle Nera had a tropical setting, so cues like "Samba Safari" and "Hawaiian Sand" work tribal-sounding percussion and steel guitar into their 1970's lounge sound. Other cuts like "Emanuelle in America (Sweet)" and "A Picture of Love (Instr.)" combine silky string arrangements with wah-wah guitars and a disco-style rhythm section to create a distinctly 1970s-flavor of romantic mood music. The tempo is occasionally perked up by an action cue like "Eternal Anguish," which layers dissonant horns and tense percussion over a programmed synthesizer riff. The end result is a collection of instrumentals that are undeniably kitschy yet too skillfully composed and catchy to be dismissed. This unique combination of factors makes Black Emanuelle's Groove a perfect pick for European lounge fans and anyone who likes exotic soundtracks.
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AllMusic Review by Donald A. Guarisco