Dusted Reviews

V/A - Pop Ambient 2010

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: V/A

Album: Pop Ambient 2010

Label: Kompakt

Review date: Jan. 28, 2010

If you find yourself in a room full of people who are into “ambient” music, pronounce it “AHM-be-YAHNT” and see what happens. Just do it.


This is the 10th annual dispatch from the Pop Ambient series, curated by Wolfgang Voight, once again adorned with floral artwork that wouldn’t look out of place in a psychiatrist’s waiting room. Voight made his bones with four distinctive, disorienting, highly influential minimalist techno records, released from 1995-2000 under the moniker Gas. As Dusted’s Brandon Bussolini observed, on occasion of the 2008 installment, the intention of Pop Ambient seems like a logical progression from Pop, the final Gas record, a title that probably seemed like a cute gag at the time. From Pop to something resembling “pop.” At its best, the series envisions a new sort of pop music, with new, ever-shifting relationships to rhythm, melody and texture.

That was the case with the 2009 disc, a real grower, filled with lovely drones and ominous digital hypnosis. Considering that it’s the diamond anniversary comp, Pop Ambient 2010 feels not nearly as ambitious. Marsen Jules’ “The Sound of One Lip Kissing” and “Lest You Forget,” credited to Brock Van Wey/bvdub, set a lush, spooky tone. But most of the balance leans more toward what we traditionally talk about when we talk about “ambient.” Less weird, more soooothing.

It is not without its incandescent gems. Triola’s exquisite “Schildergasse” buries urban field recordings under Jorg Burger’s rich, melancholy flute samples. The Orb contributes a nice slow-burning piece. Popnoname, whose cop-show theme was a highlight from the ’09 disc, returns with “Deutz Air,” a more melancholy synth wash.

And Mikkel Metal’s piano-based lament “Blue Items,” which seems to follow the rhythm of a barely audible ticking watch, is beyond haunting. And here’s Brock Van Wey/dvdub again with “Will You Know Where to Find Me,” and extended closer that’s downright gospel-ish, some of the least mechanical-sounding electronic music on the racks.

By Emerson Dameron

Read More

View all articles by Emerson Dameron

Find out more about Kompakt

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.