There is something deviously ingenious and admirable about Putumayo. Be it their distinct packaging or alternative marketing strategy, you just have to give it up to Storper and the Gang. They know what they’re doing. The same savvy they used to introduce world music to a broad new audience — hell, almost single-handedly — they are now using to bring that same audience to the world of hip electronica. Putumayo has always been the perfect gateway drug, a good way to dip your toes into the intoxicating rhythms of whatever genre to which they’re introducing you. They’ve been doing it since the beginning and are currently doing it with such releases as Latin Groove, African Groove, Asian Groove and most recently with Euro Lounge.
This last disc is a fine introduction into the multiculti genre pool of lounge/chillout. While I have personally tired of the genre, Euro Lounge will skim you along the electro-charged surface of the Asian, African, Afro-Latin-synthed late-hour swirl that is lounge. Since the genre is relatively safe compared to other electronic forms, there’s absolutely no way to be offensive — and no way of charging Putumayo with playing it safe (a charge that has frequently been laid at their feet in the past).
There’s good music here by Thievery Corporation (of course), Arling and Cameron, Mastretta, Daniele Silvestri, Vanja Lazarova, Mambotur and Ilhan Ersahin. All in all, Euro Lounge is quite an enjoyable journey as only Putumayo can deliver.