Nino Nardini & Roger Roger - Jungle Obsession (1972), 7/10

Jungle Obsession was meant to be, just as its title implies, exotic jungle music inspired by none other than The Jungle Book, hence track titles such as “Mowgli”, “Bagheera”, etc. It was recorded as a sound library recording, not to be sold commercially, by two French composers: Nino Nardini and Roger Roger (quite the double name). Where it achieves its unique form, however, is in its blending of bossa nova, traditional jazz and its most obvious lounge aesthetics rooted in old-fashioned pop music. Rather than relying purely on the preceding style and sound of lounge music, however, these two injected their own ideas backed by an underlying psychedelia. Sure, sometimes it sounds a little cheesy as any lounge influenced music will, but it more often sounds notably fresh and even haunting at times. A song like “Jungle Spell” and its Morricone-esque calls can sound out of place considering the album’s grander theme, but most of its songs further the thematic narrative quite well, even such as the proceeding track “The White Snake”. It excels when blending maximum levels of texture and noise, consistently using interesting blends of arrangement and funky rhythms to great effect. When it retreats into full lounge themes it can quickly lose its integrity, but again rarely falls into this trap. Most notably on “Tropical Call”, things withdraw into a safe and familiar mode that does not progress the album’s story in any meaningful way despite its sinister tone. As an album, clearly a creative high point for its genre.