Various Artists

Chilled Beats Sessions

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A strong contender for one of 2005's best downtempo compilations, this 30-song offering is wide-spanning in style and texture, shattering the notion that all chillout music follows the same sets of rules and formulas. Two bossa nova covers of alternative anthems (Nirvana's "Come as You Are" by Herbert co-conspirator Dani Siciliano and Nouvelle Vague's fashionable take on Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart") start off things in a peculiar fashion, but remain a welcome change from the predictability of lush keyboard chords and generic breakbeat drum loops. Contributions from IDM heroes Boards of Canada, the Orb, and Prefuse 73 temper things nicely as does an amazing track by Spacek. Sadly this compilation's packaging is generic and doesn't really do its insides justice, but looking beyond the cover will result in the listener enjoying a deeper shade of downtempo surprisingly fresh and reinvigorating among a sea of bargain-bin chillout comps with limited shelf life.

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