It’s easy to write off these Kompakt compilations as being the workings of a cliquey German inner circle of electronic musicians, but that would undermine their achievement. This is now the 12th Pop Ambient entry and strange things still manage to pop up from below the surface. For starters, Mohn’s “Manifesto” starts the collection with a slashing chord form an electric guitar, fading in quick. Not quite Rafael Toral subtlety, but noisy guitar is proudly the M.O. here.
Wolfgang Voigt, one of the best out there at this kind of thing, turns in something called “Rückverzauberung 5” where I don’t have the slightest idea what is going on, but it neatly holds down the idea of random, atonal mash-ups flying through the subconscious. And all associations with the word “ambient” are transcended by Magazine’s “The Visitor’s Bureau”, where harmonies run so deep you can’t tell where one figure begins and the other ends. Lovely.
// Notes from the Road
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