Ambient Generation

Icebreaker: Breakbeat Infused Electronica

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Ambient Generation is the nom de studio of Matthew Oates, who specializes in highly melodic, utterly pleasant but never saccharine instrumental electronica. He achieves a balance between sweetness and sharpness by propelling his quiet electronic ditties with gentle but firm breakbeats -- imagine Jean Michel Jarre or Mike Oldfield with more rhythmic interest, or Enigma without the mustache-twirling, softcore porn aspect. Icebreaker is the second Ambient Generation album, following 2003's Habitat, and there are no surprises here -- just lots more lush electronic textures and bumping beats. The program is divided into two sections, "Downbeat" and "Upbeat," but you'll want to bear in mind that "Upbeat" is a relative term: the only thing really separating the chugging piano-and-strings-and-funk opus "Alone [Album Mix]" from the somewhat more laid-back "Independent" is a slightly higher percussion profile and a marginal increase in beats per minute. This is the type of music that doesn't sound very exciting in description, but is hard to resist when heard. Recommended.

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