This is the follow-up to Putumayo's World Lounge, and it covers pretty much the same electronica-gone-global ground. Despite collecting artists from across the continent -- from Belgium to Turkey -- it is somewhat less diverse than its predecessor; about a third of the selected artists are not very distinguishable from each other, as they tend to employ the same methods of intregrating electronica with pop and folk elelments. Nonetheless, there are stand-outs in the mix and the notables are German-Chilean duo Mambotur, Italian songster Daniele Silvestri, and young spanish innovator Mastretta, whose songs each are colorful, humorous and distinctive, helping add a bit of balance to the steady chill-out factor of the overall album. Other attention grabbers: Turk Ilhan Ersahin, whose track "Girl" is a lovely, lush blend of electronica and Middle Eastern elements, topped off with sweetly Bjorkesque vocalist Nil Karamibrahumgil; and septugenarian songtress Vanja Lazarova, whose traditional folk stylings mix impressively well with fellow Macedonian and technopopster Kiril's electronica backdrop. In keeping with Putumayo's high standard for producing worthwhile compilations, all the music presented on this album is of quality and none of the tracks are truly bad (admittedly, however, I can pass on Bossa Nostra's English-lyric'd "Jackie" and Arling & Cameron's overextended "Voulez-vous?"). So even if some of the tracks, when pitted against each other, show some limitations, I can easily recommend this to anyone who interested in the latest trends in world music. And besides, it's still hipper than anything you'll hear on The Gilmore Girls.
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