Various Artists

Easy Tempo, Vol. 8: Cinematic Different Musical Horizons

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After two volumes that limited its stylistic range to pursue themes, Easy Tempo, Vol. 8 returns this popular Italian lounge compilation series to its roots by including a diverse set of instrumentals that still manage to fit the lounge music tag. Subtitled "Cinematica!! Different Musical Horizons," this generous compilation delivers everything from light easy listening to finger-popping jazz without losing the sense of cool that pervades European lounge music. Some of the best cuts in the straight easy listening vein are Walter Rizzati's "Bais Des Anges," a stylish cut that layers jazzy strings and wistful strings over a funky, bass-driven beat, and Alberto Baldan Bembo's "Tema Di Barbara," a gem that utilizes a light bossa beat to prop up its sweet mixture of electric piano and ascending strings. On the jazz tip, the most memorable cuts are Gianni Ferrio's "Rhythm and Sex," an energetic cut that underscores the robust swing of its horn section with an energetic drum attack, and Lou Stein's "Running Fire," an epic cut that uses a jazzy piano melody as the backbone for some swinging percussion and brass solos. There are also some cuts don't fit either extreme yet manage to work in the mix thanks to their combination of slick production and an emphasis on rhythmic drive: the most interesting is Stefano Torossi's "Fearing Much," a suspenseful instrumental that layers anonymous combination of fuzz guitar, strings, and brass stabs over an insistent, conga-driven beat. Despite the diversity of the tunes on display, Easy Tempo, Vol. 8 maintains a carefully-controlled sense of flow throughout, and this makes it easy for the listener to assimilate its stylistic shifts. As a result, this is one of the best volumes in the series and a solid addition to any lounge fan's collection.

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