Various Artists

Suono Libero, Vol. 1

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This compilation from Italian lounge label Irma La Douce collects a series of music library instrumentals that have the kind of light soul and jazz underpinnings that defined the European lounge sound of the 1960s and 1970s. Many of the cuts on Suono Libero have a strong emphasis on keyboard textures: highlights in this vein include Ugo Fusco's "First," which pits jazzy piano and funky organ against each other over a tight rhythm section groove, and Mario Molino's "Iron Piano," which features jazzy piano explorations dancing around staccato organ riffs over a rumblng bassline. Other cuts have a strong emphasis on Latin rhythms: "Per L'Eternita" by the Brasilian Boys layers gentle flute and piano over an insistent bossa nova beat, while "Barrio Bueno" from the Cabiloos supports the electric piano lines that define its melody with a gentle but insistent Latin-styled beat. Another notable cut is "Central Park" by M.J.Q., which stands apart from the pack because it allows the xylophone to take the center stage as lead instrument over its tight jazz-funk groove. Nothing on Suono Libero approaches the catchy and inventive cuts on similar compilations like Phase 6 Superstereo, but nothing overstays its welcome and the compilation benefits from a consistent, melodic sense of flow. All in all, Suono Libero may not be inspirational enough to serve as a proper introduction to the European lounge sound, but it offers enough solid instrumentals to make worthwhile for listeners who already fans of this genre.

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