The 2017 installment of Kompakt's ever-reliable Pop Ambient series serves up a typical assortment of wintry, occasionally somber, always reflective ambient pieces. The first few selections are the most experimental, with shifting and stirring sounds buried underneath the glacial synthesizer pads and twinkling pianos. Kenneth James Gibson's "Her Flood Knocked Me to the Ground (But I Was Already There)" features grainy static and dub echo that has been filtered down to crumbs, but atop the crackle sits a soft pulse and hazy slide guitar. Kompakt co-founder Wolfgang Voigt provides a remix of Soulsavers' "Hal," which sprinkles delicate pianos over dramatic strings, underpinned by a sporadic slapping noise…
Kompakt’s moving feast of Pop Ambient returns with a 2018 edition spelling out twelve languorous and lofty definitions of atmospheric music by veteran hands - the Orb, Triola, Jens-Uwe Beyer - as well as recent additions to the series - Chuck Johnson, Yui Onodera, T. Raumschmiere. Trust there’s no sharp edges or harsh textures inside, more the sort of music one can listen to in your birthday suit with windows open, or equally blanketed after the party, and the effect will remain as welcoming, user friendly. Look out for lovliest moments in this volume from T. Raumschmiere’s epic stargazer, Eterna, and the amniotic cradle of Kaito’s Travelled Between Souls.
One of the first of the blissed-out rave acts to storm the charts, and also one of the longest lasting, the Future Sound of London deserved a good singles compilation, and fortunately they get one with the Virgin retrospective Teachings from the Electronic Brain. Their highest moments were virtually always their singles, and short-form tracks offer a much easier path to understanding the music of Brian Dougans and Garry Cobain than their occasionally bloated LPs. Teachings from the Electronic Brain neglects nothing of real value, beginning with their first chart hit ("Papua New Guinea") and grabbing the best tracks from their albums Accelerator ("Expander"), Lifeforms (the title track), the live-in-the-studio ISDN ("Far-Out Son of Lung and the Ramblings of a Madman," "Smokin' Japanese Babe"), and Dead Cities ("We Have Explosive"). Best of all, licensing requirements prevented the addition of material from 2002's half-baked The Isness.
Limited edition of 100 copies. Sleepy Town Manufacture AKA Alexander Ananev delivers his first long player for txt. featuring eleven tracks of emotionally driven ambience.
Like so much of Moby's earliest work, this isn't so much an album as a compilation via his original label, Instinct. Ambient influences in techno were all the rage in 1993 in terms of press and coverage (though jungle would swiftly eclipse both it and the progressive house genre), so it's no surprise Instinct wanted some of that action, right down to the says-it-all title. Motivations aside, Ambient is an enjoyable collection of experiments; if Aphex Twin's monumental Selected Ambient Works releases eclipse it in terms of both quality and sheer inventiveness, Moby's own efforts in the field are often quite pleasing. Those familiar with such later efforts as "God Moving Over the Face of the Waters" and "The Rain Falls and rhe Sky Shudders" can find their partial roots here, though the compositions are generally more formal and less-immediately noteworthy than what came next.