Various Artists

13th Moon: Journey into Future Consciousness

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More than most compilations of a similar bent, 13th Moon is a program that leads the listener along a very specific and deliberate trajectory of mood and ambience. Call it "ambient trance" if you need a place to file it, but none of the artists featured here succumb to that genre's frequent pitfall of confusing length with depth. Starting with Kiwa's deceptively gentle "Dawn," and then moving into a long, funky, and sumptuously beautiful number credited to ABA Structure and titled "Rescue," the album gradually picks up speed, culminating in two brilliant pieces of dubwise Middle Eastern exotica: Mystical Sun's more broadly worldbeat composition, "2012," and Seb Taylor's more explicitly Arabian "Stone Turns Black." Then things cool out with a long piece of dub-jazz fusion by Bluetech titled "Prayers for Rain (In Dub)." The only real weak spot on this album is a ho-hum house workout by Human Blue; everything else treads very gracefully the treacherous line between music that you feel compelled to pay attention to, and music that puts you to sleep. Highly recommended.