Lounge music is a type of easy listening music popular in the 1950s and 1960s. It may be meant to evoke in the listeners the feeling of being in a place, usually with a tranquil theme, such as a jungle, an island paradise or outer space. The range of lounge music encompasses beautiful music–influenced instrumentals, modern electronica (with chillout, and downtempo influences), while remaining thematically focused on its retro-space-age cultural elements…
The soundtrack to the Hughes Brothers' tribute to early-'70s blaxploitation gets the sound of the era right, featuring hits by the O'Jays, the Spinners, Isaac Hayes, Al Green, and Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, among others. The inclusion of Danny Elfman's instrumental theme interrupts the flow of the album, but for the most part, Dead Presidents is a first-rate collection of prime soul.
Seven different organs from the Swiss firm of Metzler carry the weight of the project, which is where Herrick's consistency begins. Other complete Bach collections use many and varied makes and locations in the hope of keeping our interest alive. Herrick's journey brings us a sound that has enough variety to show the Metzler's ability to bear a responsible approach to Bach despite their modern construction.
Brash, melodic, and imbued with a more-than-healthy sense of British rock tradition, the Fratellis and their debut album, Costello Music, come across almost like a caricature of bands like the Libertines, Dirty Pretty Things, and Arctic Monkeys – but at least it's a flattering one. The Fratellis take themselves a lot less seriously than some of the other laddish bands popular in the U.K. in the late 2000s, and emphasize hooks and fun rather than samey-sounding rock. Songs like "Baby Fratelli" and "The Gutterati" have a singalong simplicity, and it feels like the band puts as many "la la la"s and "ba da ba"s into each song as they can – and then try to cram in a few more. Costello Music's best tracks go even farther with the band's fun-only agenda; it's easy to hear why "Flathead" – which switches between grinding, aggressive verses and a downright giddy chorus with more of those "ba da bop a dah" hooks – was picked to soundtrack a fittingly day-glo, kinetic iPod TV commercial. The outstanding single "Chelsea Dagger" is just as vibrant, a swaggering glam rock nugget with pints-aloft choruses. "Henrietta"'s loopy catchiness owes a debt to vaudeville or musical comedy, and not just because Jon Fratelli sings "wa wa wa waaaahhh" along with the guitar solo; "For the Girl," meanwhile, has a melody so strong, it could've been a hit anytime between the '60s and the '90s.
The West of veteran TV writer/Deadwoodcreator David Milch is as grim as it is gritty, sprinkled with salty dialogue and punctuated by sudden brutality and raw sexuality. The original soundtrack cues by composer David Schwartz (represented here by his evocative show theme), Michael Brook and Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek play off that vision with often stark rootsiness. But it's the series' rich slate of songs – choices whose inventiveness often rivals that of The Sopranos – that consistently reinforce its all-too-human drama, if not the crusty veneer. This collection gathers the best songs from the series' first season, coloring the milieu with evocative hillbilly romps like Michael Hurley's "Hog of the Forsaken" and the a capella grace of Margaret's Native American "Creek Lullaby." But the collection's musical eclecticism stretches far beyond mere genre concerns, variously encompassing the nascent jazz of Jelly Roll Morton (a rollicking "Stars and Stripes Forever"), Delta blues of Bukka White and Mississippi John Hurt and even Gustavo Santaolalla's hypnotic Brazilian fretwork. But the collection's country and folk-tinged performances are its most resonant, whether invoking earthy traditions (the gospel fervor of the late June Carter Cash's "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee's more heretical "God and Man") or more contemporary stylings like Lyle Lovett's "Old Friend" and the gentle "Twisted Little Man" by Michael J. Sheehy.
A complete survey of Ravel’s piano music is an especially challenging prospect for any pianist. It is not merely that this sublime music frequently demands exceptional, post-Lisztian virtuosity. Beyond such dexterity is the fact that, as Steven Osborne observes in this recording’s booklet, the composer’s fear of repeating himself ensure that the lessons from one work can rarely be transferred to the next. This is not merely the aesthetic change from the nightmarish imagery of Gaspard de la nuit to the elegant neo-classicism of Le tombeau de Couperin. Ravel essentially re-imagined how to write for the piano with each significant work. Osborne is more than up to the task. The contrasting fireworks of the ‘Toccata’ from Le tombeau and ‘Alborada del gracioso’ (Miroirs) are despatched with relish, the piano exploding with power in the latter after a disarmingly impish opening. The Sonatine has a refined insouciance, while the love bestowed upon each note is clear. Then there are the numerous moments of sustained control, such as the shimmering opening pages of Gaspard. Sometimes changes of spirit occur effortlessly within a piece. Having been a model of clarity in the ‘Prelude’ from Le tombeau, Osborne treats the codetta not as a brisk flourish, but as if this particular vision of the 18th century is dissolving beneath his fingers.
Patrick Gowers' score for the Grenada Television series about A. Conan Doyle's consulting detective has become almost as closely linked to Sherlock Holmes in the minds of fans as star Jeremy Brett (1933-1995). But those with no interest in Holmes can also enjoy this recording. Gowers' musical eloquence is richly displayed in these widely diverse, yet cohesive, tracks. Gowers begins the recording with "221B Baker Street," the vivacious theme (performed on Holmes' instrument, the violin, by Kenneth Sillito) that brings to mind Holmes' classic alarm call, "Come, Watson, come! The game is afoot. Not a word!" The cohesiveness of the album comes from Gowers' variations on this theme found throughout the rest of the recording. But the diversity within this cohesiveness is what is remarkable.