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Various Artists

Ambient Soho Volume II

(Millennium; UK: 5 Feb 2001)

While it remains true that atmospheric electronica is usually associated with the dilated pupils of youthful punters in search of a comforting conclusion to a sleep-deprived weekend, proper ambient grooves, such as those comprising Ambient Soho Volume II exist in a slightly more mature realm. This London-based Millennium Records’ concept successfully attempts to showcase a warmer side of electronic orchestration. This is not a chaotic potluck of tiresome bleeps and drones merely aspiring to play tricks on your mind. These selections are instrumental manifestations of a nubile artistic character.


It is impossible to deny the influences of traditional roots dub, proper Detroit minimalism and modern new age composition, however, like all forward moving artists, these acts manage to create something unique out of something borrowed. Each of this compilation’s 19 tracks is a sonically produced landscape rooted in soulful galactic sensuality. While the electronic element is obviously omnipresent throughout, these offerings manage to conjure up imagery and emotions of the concrete human experience, proving that it is possible to invoke such conditions through a technological medium.


The Starseeds, England’s aficionados of sonic transcendence, are a shining example of this reality. The combination of lush classical strings, plushlike orchestrated brass and soothing synth pads found within “Gobi Underwater” is proof enough to convert even the most ardent purist of traditional pop music. Full Moon Fashions’ “On My Way Amphetamine” is a proper manifestation of ‘future house’, which is geared not for big club systems, although it would no doubt produce an extraordinary effect, but rather for individualized armchair listening. Germany’s Soehgenetic offer up a superb slice of bass heavy ambient dub reminiscent of The Orb at their peak. Ambient Soho Volume II also bravely delves into the more eclectic arena of experimental electronica by including pieces from envelope pushers Gimmik and Bola. Their broken fragmented beats and fresh melodic concepts are responsible for exposing the possible direction for new musical horizons.


While one would be faced with a laborious task in attempting to argue that these sonic masterpieces have not been created, or in the very least inspired by some form of narcotic syntax, participation within the chemical realm, which is so often affiliated with modern electronica is by no means a necessary component to product appreciation. There is however, an unwritten agreement between artist and consumer that this journey is best experienced come nightfall. Sensual interplanetary lullabies for the modern generation.

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