Cafe Romantico

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While never receiving the notoriety of Ottmar Liebert, the primary conveyor of the hip, sassy and romantic nuevo flamenco style, this acoustic guitar stylist has quietly built a bestselling indie catalog with five releases. All including the new one have a similar packaging style, with gorgeous, exotic paintings and romantic-themed titles. Cafe Romantico also follows the established musical pattern for the most part, blending gorgeous ballads, loping seductions and zippy, fiery Latin pieces while complementing his numerous custom guitars with lush keyboard atmospheres and romantic accordion harmonies and solos. Despite the variety, all of these cuts seem perfectly designed to first accompany a meal at a trendy European café and then inspire an evening of close, sexy dancing. The nicest surprise on the disc -- a Santana-like electric guitar intro segment on the opening track "Lover's Moon" -- doesn't last long, but there are numerous other charms along the way. The title cut has a sweet, starry-eyed way about it, while "Rain Drops" is handclapping and danceable. These early tracks set the tone for a set of engaging tunes which show off Armik's ability to both seduce with great melodies and excite with lightning fast nylon string solos over a wide range of Latin and Spanish grooves.

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