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Various Artists Pop Ambient 2006

It‘s hard to go wrong with Kompakt's annual offering of selected ambient works-especially if you last dug the genre during FSOL's Lifeforms era. Catch up with luminaries Ulf Lohmann (here with the hypnotic hum of "Burning Bright") and The Orb, and relative newcomers like Tetsuo Sakae's and Mayuchi‘s Pass Into Silence project, whose "Iceblink" unfolds like a first wondrous gasp on E. The CD's three additional songs-notably Klimek's "Gymnopedie #1," with its mellifluous harp-are essential, but all tracks beg LP-style slow listening. Guitars and strings float un-tethered throughout, supplying enough "pop" to please both new romantics and the quasi-conscious.

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