Various Artists - Pop Ambient 2017

by Mark Steele Rating:7 Release Date:2016-11-25

While 2016 may remain in the minds of many as the year umpteen legends of stage and screen passed away, alongside brutal wars, a multitude of natural disasters, hyper-celebrity breakdowns and the epic drama of the historic US presidential battle. Much weirder events have occurred in the world, possibly turning many off life or to become part of a growing disenfranchised politically swayed swarm of society. Here is where the 12-track compilation, Pop Ambient 2017, is an album that may seem like the perfect chaos antidote.

Yui Onodera initiates proceedings with the deep epic 'Cromo2', with ethereal transcendent synth/organ backdrops, including delayed icy piano notes which add a definite mystery, with aquatic effects added.

Equally vast and cosmically booming is the longest title on the album 'Her Floor Knocked Me To The Ground (But I Was Already There),' by Kenneth James Gibson,  and there is almost a dystopian piano presence on the Wolfgang Voigt remix of Soulsavers 'Hal', brooding and haunting strings and synths abound. With some vinyl crackling stroke rainfall, and a vibe like intense late-80s/early90s futuristic thriller soundtrack. Scanner and Yiu Onodera deliver a deep baseline on 'Locu Solus' with scattered swirling synths alongside sad distant piano single note chimes.

Two pieces are featured by three artists, Jens-Uwe Beyer, holds us in a paranoid building up intro on 'Final 9' into a choral blast. This drops off, into a lush layered limbo piano motif, chilling. Last album track, 'Final 10' ascends into a cylindrical metallic hum, quite elongated in the changes also. Secondly, provides a somewhat lilting impression on his offerings, has a beeping 3/4 bass loop that has some delayed guitar edging in and out with whispy glass shimmers. Coming across organ does binaural like effects, reveals stealthy strings, horns and mallet percussive stealthy menace, '189.000 miles a second' could be glitchy signal movements amplified.

Thirdly, Leandro Fresco delivers a bright and spacious oceanic swarming strings piece with 'Sonido Espanol', delayed soft chord tones are evident throughout. His second 'El Abismo' sounds like a galactic stuck windscreen wiper loop, surrounded by a phasing windy dust cloud.

Also featured are the pulsing cruising dub dreamer 'Dekka' by Anton Kubikov, and the trippy journey, with sudden vocal sound sampled beats and layered bells on ' Good Life' by Thore Pfeiffer.

Pop Ambient 2017, has a heady and even lucid dream like essence, that allows the listener to escape momentarily into a non-prejudice environment.  It may well fit in amongst some people's ambient and chill-out collections, with a most interesting aspect, in that it seems made for a much needed modern escapism.

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