Since the premiere 2001 edition, Kompakt's Pop Ambient compilations have been one of the few things that make the holiday season bearable. With comforting reliability, these collections immerse you in the bracingly cool warmth of analog (and digital) bubble baths. The tracks gathered are always dreamy descendents of Brian Eno's beat-less sonic meditations, and usually paeans to some sort of blissed stasis.
Pop Ambient 2007 provides 10 more aural balms for minds beleaguered by the world's uncanny propensity for generating bad news. The producers here enhance the contemplation with gauzy synth swirls, pointillist, pastel melodies, and tranquil rhythms that placidly go woob woob in 4/4 time. Gas, Markus Guentner, Thomas Fehlmann, Ulf Lohmann, and Klimek massage the pleasure principle, muffling it in cashmere scarves to match the coolest holiday sweater. At the same time, most of this music threatens to evaporate into the ether, but does so very prettily, especially the Field's "Kappsta," which sounds like minimal-techno magus Wolfgang Voigt remixing My Bloody Valentine's shoegazer classic "Soon." This is elevator music, to be sure. But it's designed for lifts that ascend to whatever your idea of heaven may be. And it beats the hell out of those tiresome old Christmas carols.
Dave Segal writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.