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Various Artists

Enjoy the Silence

(Mule Electronic; US: 14 Apr 2009; UK: 6 Apr 2009)

The Tokyo-based ambient label Mule Electronic, specializing in ambient music, has released Enjoy the Silence to mark its fifth anniversary. The dozen tracks here show Mule deals in old-school ambient. This isn’t the mellowed-out pop and electronica you find on those Ultra: Chilled compilations. No, this is glacial, beat-free, all-instrumental soundscape. Synthesizers creep and crest like molten lava, while the occasional voice or reverbed sound effect passes through. Sometimes, as on Koss’ piano piece “Endless Flight” or Lawrence’s “Sunrise”, the results are simultaneously striking and relaxing. Other tracks are more abstract, to the point of becoming almost atonal. Enjoy the Silence may remind some listeners of the more mellow moments of Cocteau Twins or This Mortal Coil. Too often, though, the arrangements recall the outdated sounds of yesterday’s New Age labels. Private Music, anyone?

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John Bergstrom has been writing various reviews and features for PopMatters since 2004. He has been a music fanatic at least since he and a couple friends put together The Rock Group Dictionary in third grade (although he now admits that giving Pat Benatar the title of "first good female rocker" was probably a mistake). He has done freelance writing for Trouser Pressonline, Milwaukee's Shepherd Express, and the late Milk magazine and website. He currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife and two kids, both of whom are very good dancers.


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