Throughout the twenty arrondissements (districts) of Paris, when night falls one is likely to enter a café, club or restaurant and encounter the ubiquitous sounds of lounge music. As this album illustrates, lounge music is far from merely mood music it offers the listener a rich and rewarding experience that is, at its best, wholly captivating.
With its trademark lush strings and melancholy feel, Benjamin Biolay's music is as slow-burning and smouldering as his looks. 'La Superbe' feels like a first-class trip on Eurostar, straight to the Paris of Etienne Daho, Bashung, Gainsbourg and Michel Legrand.
Paris-based Pascal Parisot's original music mixes classic French chanson, Latin beats and Brazilian harmony. Composing irresistible melodies carried by an enchanting voice, Fredda sings and plays the banjo. 'Barry White,' featured on this album, is less an homage to the soul singer than a nostalgic reminiscence of the period when Fredda frequented clubs.
With their 'Zazou' look, inspired by Parisian paleo-punks from the 1940s, Caravan Palace serve up festive and frantic music that breathes fresh air into the timeless swing and lounge scene. 'Lazy Place' is a moody instrumental piece, whereas their second track on this album, 'Jolie Coquine', is a futuristic and melodious Charleston fit for the dance floor.
French-born Marianne Dissard is Tucson, Arizona's resident chanteuse. 'Les Draps Sourds' ('The Deaf Sheets'), and 'Le Jour De L'Anniversaire' ('The Day Of The Anniversary') are reminders of pure cabaret, with a dramatic progression, sudden shifts of moods and intensity, and a cocktail-soaked spirit.
Féloche's sweet and sour songs suggest an unconventional outlook on life and creates a unique blend of electronic music that is simultaneously pop with a swampland exotica unlike anything else. Les Chauds Lapins present French songs of the 1920s to 1940s, an epoch when American jazz and swing were being absorbed into the passionate music popularized by such luminaries as Lucienne Boyer, Edith Piaf and Charles Trenet. With 'Cette Nuit-L&;agrave', the band presents an original composition, arranged for ukuleles and string trio.
'Son Grand Sourire' by Na&;iumlm Amor is a wonderful waltz, a song about marriage, divorce and getting drunk. The semi-autobiographical lyrics are an ode to the old-school chansongeneration - Henri Salvador, Boris Vian and Serge Gainsbourg quite clearly shine through.
Marianne Feder's 'En Voyage' is a fantastic collaboration between producer and multi-instrumentalist Daniel Yvine and Marianne, accompanied by tzigano-rock musicians from La Caravan Passe and Zivell for a Slavic-Parisian sound.
The music of Saycet is entirely personal, telling us an out-of-time story, evoking successions of flashing images. '15' is an invitation for contemplation, a pure jewel of electronic music that subtly mixes glitches and ticks with minimalist and light harmonies, whilst &;Oumlrsten's'Fleur Blanche' impresses with its luscious string harmonies and tender piano solos.
The Rough Guide To Paris Lounge is a collection that highlights the innovative and compelling lounge music that is being produced in France today.
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