WORLD LOUNGE (Putumayo) Various Artists
One of the coolest labels on the globe. Like yourself, we've been bumping into their records at cool shoppes and hip eateries for years. In NYC for the summer, I ran across an article in the Village Voice about them. No surprise that they're one of the very few record companies actually experiencing growth in the last few years, 15% last year...
First of all, their crowd is probably not a "downloading" crowd. Second of all, their records are great. Compilations, combinations, syntheses of different elements creatively selected and sequenced. So, after I saw the ad in the Voice, I had breakfast and heard a song that tripped me out, sitting in Le Petit Cafe on Spring Street. I asked whom it was and the Czech waitress Milada brought it out--a Putumayo release called Samba Bossa Nova. That's it, I thought, where are these guys...? And like so often happens in life, their office was about 10 blocks away. Count on seeing a number of their titles in upcoming issues.
The label describes World Lounge as "The ultimate chill-out soundtrack for a global cocktail party." (That made me want to take up drinking again.) Anyhow, it's a stone groove, eight countries are represented--when lyrics occasionally pop up, they're mostly not in English (even Portland's fabulous Pink Martini sing their song "Sympathique" in French).
The kitsch factor rules, no question. But it's hip, it's very fun, sounds great. A number of very legit traditional instruments of various countries (like sitar, bandoneon, and oud) are juxtaposed with dub and electronica elements in very tasty ways we found appealing and even inspiring.
We love this record. We predict that a few moments on the Listen page to some chilled out clips will have you checking out the website of Putumayo records. FG