Mastretta

Mastretta

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Nacho Mastretta is one of Spain's busiest composers and producers. On his first U.S. album -- a compilation of material released in his native country from 1998-2000 -- he weaves lounge-lizard jazz-pop with electronic touches and comes off sounding somewhat like a new-millennium Kurt Weill crossed with a narrative-minded Esquivel. His compositions -- some featuring cooing female background vocalists, most left to unspool instrumentally -- are both soothing and eerie. They also can be repetitive (the 14-minute "First Exit" makes this clear). This is cocktail pop that occasionally sounds like a soundtrack for the end of the world (indeed, a couple of these tracks originally were commissioned for films). Or, more appropriately, the party before the end of the world.

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