Various Into the Temposphere

Two more compilations here from the highly prolific and often quite delightful Right Tempo franchise. A Milan-based speciality label trading in various forms of Italian arcana, Right Tempo tilts toward soundtrack funk from the ‘60s and ‘70s, an era when Italian studios churned out cheesy crime dramas and sex farces at a dizzying pace, but paradoxically, drawing the line on compromising the quality of the soundtracks. Easy Tempo Experience puts 12 compositions from 1969 to ‘76, including Piero Umiliani’s infamous "Mah Na’ Mah Na’," into the hands of downtempo producers, and predictably and happily enough, Italian crime jazz and rare groove knockoffs wind down into often hypnotic trip-hop grooves. The High Llamas doctoring of Umiliani’s "Lady Magnolia" into a precious ten-minute fey pop epic is the biggest curiosity, but it’s Kid Loco who really hits the jackpot with his treatment of Luis Bacalov’s "La Seduzione" — a sultry and yes, seductive, moody saunter to nowhere in particular that brings to mind DJ Shadow’s What Does Your Soul Look Like EP. With a couple of exceptions, Easy Tempo Experience is a wall-to-wall, plush suede carpet of soft, sinuous grooves, while Into the Temposphere is, as far as one can tell, a collection of curios and eccentrics working in Italian downtempo circles these days. Like their producer kin elsewhere, they’re full of cheek (names like Maffia Sound System and Astronaughty), with an affection for retro-funk sounds, but the whole is overshadowed by the figure of Gak Sato, whose hand as a producer and artist is all over this compilation and who provides the most chilled grooves herein. (Right Tempo)