&#91TRENDSETTER&#93Put a groove in your summer with these mood-making CDs

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[TRENDSETTER]Put a groove in your summer with these mood-making CDs

Can music make a person, or a place, hip?
Like fashion, music carries its own socio-psychological status, and trend-spotters around the world would do anything to get both fashion and music right.
It was the French DJ Stephane Pompougnac who showcased his mastery of “down-tempo” dance remix from Paris’ famed spot, Hotel Costes. Buddha Bar on Rue Boissy d’Anglas has also released its own lounge music. All ten CDs of both the Hotel Costes and Buddha Bar series have become well-known among the fashionable crowd and at their favorite hangouts.
While their music has become a global language of style, the trend-sensitive around the world are curious about what’s now being played while they’re drinking and dining. If you think you’ve had enough of the Costes and Buddha Bar series, here are some other choice musical pieces that can make the rest of the summer groovy.
The next popular thing since the Costes series has been Gotan Project. “Hotel Costes is only a compilation; we are real musicians performing live,” says Philippe Cohen Solal, who leads the seven-member band based in Paris. The group’s fourth album, “La Revancha del Tango (with Bonus Disc),” released last April, is basically authentic Argentine tango electronica with a dance beat. Since the group’s formation in 1999, Gotan [an Argentine joke on “tango”] Project has given more than 150 live concerts around the world, featuring a mix of video performance by Prisca Lobjoy and technical skills in remixing acoustics.
The latest “addictive” moody dance compilation from the fashionable district of Rue St. Honore is “Paris Lounge 2.” This double-disc package, released last March, has one CD for daytime, the other for nighttime. The first CD starts with smoother acid jazz that gets groovy and sexy as it goes along ― “Rouge Rouge” and “Transcontinental,” for example. The second, which is meant for nocturnal pleasures, is a funky pick-me-up disc for hip club royalty. If you want to jump-start your party mood, skip to the ninth track, “I:Cube,” and repeat the tenth in loop, “Alexkid.”
If you’d like to start your evening early, or seduce your partner slowly, let your choice of music speak for you. The “Carte Blanche” series imported from Holland is “the ultimate collection of sexy, seductive and groovy dance beats, which blurs the lines between soul, trip-hop, jazz and funk.” Of the three albums in the series, the second album, released in 2001, is considered the best. It starts out with a hypnotizingly luscious melody: imagine incense, a bedroom and a sheer pink veil. Although the last track, “Aquanote,” is too complicated to enjoy casually, most of the album, from its fourth track, “Oscar,” to the twelfth, “Wai Wan,” can be a perfect prelude for a night of romance.
But for parties, you need a serious energizer. The King of Mixers, Dimitri from Paris, knows how to make your body, especially the lower parts, move. When it comes to dance acts, the 75-minute compilation called “Monsieur Dimitri’s De-Luxe House of Funk” (released in 2001) is a very solid release. In it, the famed French DJ boasts his sleek mixing skills in concocting hard but dreamy sequences of sound bites. By the third track, Switchblade Sisters’ “U Love My Music,” you’re already turned on, and the rest of the album continues non-stop funky until the Icelandic club diva, Bjork, croons the memorable finale in the last track, “Isobel.”
The Italic Collection, produced in Germany, is also a series of compilations, sold through its Web site (www.italic.de) or limited distribution channels. One of its most recent, tastefully powerful series, “Dancer,” defines a new style of digital pop music popular from the club scene. Throughout the album, there is plenty of pumping Euro-dance beat, drum-and-bass and jungle. If you’re going for the simple and sheer joy of cruising around in the nighttime ― it can be anywhere in the world ― this is the music for you.

by Ines Cho
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