Various Artists

Easy Tempo, Vol. 4: Kaleidoscopic Collection of Exciting & Diverse Cinematic Themes

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After a relaxed and jazzy third volume, the Easy Tempo compilation series picked up the pace with Easy Tempo, Vol. 4. The secondary title for this volume is "a kaleidoscopic collection of exciting and diverse cinematic themes," and the disc manages to live up to this distinction. The tone is set by the opening number, Lara Saint Paul's "So": this jazz-funk nugget features the vocalist layering a breathy yet energetic set of scat vocals over a beat-heavy track full of wah-wah guitar riffs and wild flute solos. The remainder of the tracks on Easy Tempo, Vol. 4 follow suit by presenting stylishly loungey variations on jazz and soul that are driven by an emphasis on rhythm. A lot of the tracks really pack a punch despite their smooth style: for instance, Giancarlo Gazzani's "Under Drama" creates an intensely suspenseful feel thanks to its combination of hard-hitting drums and swooning strings, and Ennio Morricone's "Citta Viva" layers its jazzily percussive groove with a gutsy, complex horn arrangement. At the same time, Easy Tempo, Vol. 4 manages to avoid overpowering the listener, despite strong tracks like these, because it paces them with gentler tracks that combine similar rhythms with lighter melodies: Alberto Baldan Bembo's "Pedro Come" layers jazzy piano and an ethereal string melody over a taut, bass-driven groove, and Luis Enruiquez Bacalov's "Roma Bene" puts forth a tasty combination of flamenco guitar and fluttery horns over a gentle but insistent shaker rhythm. The end result is a smooth lounge compilation that is melodically gentle enough to fit the lounge music tag while remaining rhythmic enough to keep the listeners' toes tapping. This unique combination of styles ensures that Easy Tempo, Vol. 4 will make a catchy yet soothing addition to any fan's collection.

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