Various Artists

Chillout 2003: The Ultimate Chillout

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Third in a yearly series of downbeat electronic pop, Nettwerk's Chillout 2003: The Ultimate Chillout balances various licensees with a few choices from the label's catalog, including Delerium, Sarah McLachlan, FC Kahuna, and Sounds From the Ground. This one lacks the heavy-hitters appearing on the previous year's edition (Radiohead, Massive Attack, Zero 7), though it has largely the same effect: pleasant, ephemeral music that functions best as musical wallpaper. As expected, female vocalists get the nod most often, with Angela McCluskey (featured on Télépopmusik's "Love Can Damage Your Health") and the heavenly Kirsty Hawkshaw leading the way (shame that Hawkshaw's beautiful performance on "Fine Day" is sunk by an unflattering Frakkar remix). Other notables include tracks from Moby's 18 and FC Kahuna's Machine Says Yes, the electro-angst of Fischerspooner, and the well-chosen closer, New Order's "Your Silent Face" (close to 20 years older than the rest of the inclusions).

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