Elisabeth Butterfly/Various Easy Paris

Musically documenting the city of Paris on one disc is a seemingly impossible task, so Elisabeth Butterfly narrows the field a bit, and collects new and old French songs that would most likely be categorised as "easy listening." Rather than chronologically sequencing the selected tracks, Easy Paris bounces from era to era, with a 1973 Fantômas intro starting the whole thing off. Throughout the 24 tracks, we are treated to a quirky selection of jazz, lounge, bossa and even a bit of soul, all with a distinctly French flair for space age pop. There are some contemporary additions from artists like Air, Mellow, Rouge Rouge and Betrand Burgalat, but the real treats on this album come from the '60s and '70s. Even Petula Clark makes an appearance with "Papayer," a French release from 1958 that marks the furthest back this compilation delves. Taken individually, these are all great songs, and it would seem there is no logical thread to link this material together. However, Ms. Butterfly has done an outstanding job of creating a flow that would be a nice listen either at home or in a club. Easy Paris comes out sounding surprisingly tight, as if this was one magical and ultra-talented Parisian orchestral lounge-pop ensemble churning out the material themselves. (Wagram)