Various Artists

Blanco y Negro: Music for Siesta

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Since its 1992 formation, Spain's Siesta Records has carried the torch of beloved indie labels like Sarah, él, Cherry Red, and Crepuscule, consistently delivering exquisitely lush and sophisticated Baroque pop informed by the traditions of soft rock, bossa nova, French ya-ya music, and lounge. The Siesta aesthetic might best be dubbed "fantasy pop" -- any number of the label's bands are admitted fakes and façades, their music the product of producers, arrangers, and session musicians, and likewise, a number of releases are soundtracks to nonexistent films and other high-concept formulas. Needless to say, it's the kind of pop music that has historically found its most appreciative audience in Japan, and accordingly, Blanco y Negro: Music for Siesta packages 21 of the label's peaks for the Japanese market, offering a generous look at the company's output to date. True to form, the highlights are relatively interchangeable -- the same puppet masters are pulling the strings throughout, and if you like one of these songs, you're reasonably certain to like them all. The band names and song titles alone are fantastic: Silvestre Paradox's "Goodbye Columbus," Pastel Vespa's "In My Automobile," Lollipop Train's "Emma Peel Crossword Puzzle," and Mild Euphoria's "Delicious Pie" are all standouts.