This disc contains a short soundtrack composed by Alberto Baldan Bembo for a 1969 Italian television production. The compositions presented here are as smooth as those on the Bembo compilation The Smart Set, but are generally much moodier and slower. Stylistically, this score seems to owe a debt to the Serge Gainsbourg classic "Je T'Aime Moi Non Plus," because it is built on a similar combination of subtle, atmospheric keyboard work and silky female vocals. This style is established on the cuts "Ore 18" and "Ore 20," both of which play off airy female "la la" vocals against a quietly jazzy backdrop with a focus on piano. Gothic, Procul Harum-style organ also takes center stage on a few of the cuts: "Ore 22 (Ti Amo Di Morere)," which uses it to back up a breathlessly dramatic Italian recitation, and the Morricone-like "Ore 18," which weaves it with more wordless female vocals to create a nostalgic yet mournful sound. The one cut that deviates from the album's mellow style is "Ore 24 (Domenica)," an up-tempo cut built on a combination of frantic Latin-styled percussion, guitar grooves, and some twangy sitar riffs. The downside of Io E Mara is that it is quite short (the total running time clocks in at a few seconds over 26 minutes), but it makes up for this with a sense of melodic consistency that allows the instrumentals to flow together nicely as an album. In the end, Io E Mara may be a little too mellow for lounge fans accustomed to the wilder, quirkier tunes that pop up on most Easy Tempo releases, but it remains a quiet and melodic gem for those who like their music mellow.
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AllMusic Review by Donald A. Guarisco