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Various Artists: Scoctopus: The in Sound From Octopus Records

Album Notes

As the lounge-core scene developed in Europe thanks to groundbreaking releases like The Sound Gallery and the Easy Tempo series, record companies all over Europe began digging into the vaults of old music libraries to discover loungey instrumentals to satisfy the needs of the lounge-core scene. A typical release of this stripe is Scoctopus, a compilation that collects a series of instrumentals from the catalog of an Italian music library label called Octopus. Subtitled "The In Sound from Octopus Records," Scotopus leans toward tracks that combine soul and jazz elements in the gently poppy way that defines European lounge music. Highlights include "Curly," a funky keyboard excursion with some exciting organ solos, and "Games," a quietly grooving track that layers some jazzy flute lines over a funky, percolating bassline. There are also some interesting tracks that make good use of wordless vocals: "Save Up" effectively uses a scat vocal as a counterpoint to its funky bassline and "Verso L'Infinito" brings the vocals front and center with its complex, jazzy choral arrangement (trivia note: this track was penned by Alessandro Alessandroni, the vocal arranger on many of Ennio Morricone's classic soundtracks). On the downside, Scoctopus lacks the consistently strong compositions necessary to make it a truly memorable lounge compilation. Most notably, the first half of the album is weighed down by some generic lounge tunes that fail to stick in memory. For example, "Miles" is a bouncy but faceless slice of bebop jazz that lacks the interesting arrangement twists that would make it memorable. As a result, Scoctopus lacks the cohesiveness of the best lounge compilations, but offers enough strong tracks to make it worth a spin for avid fans of European lounge music. ~ Donald A. Guarisco


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