Om: Chilled, Vol. 2

Various Artists

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Om: Chilled, Vol. 2 Review

by Rick Anderson

No label does chillout music better than Om, and the Chilled series distills Om's varied catalog into the aural equivalent of a refreshing one-hour nap -- not a bored, irritable nap, but the kind you take after a hard day of skiing and before hitting the club. Much of it is not really suitable for dancing -- "Really," by Bluemind, has a beat, but you have to listen hard to find it, while Techno Squirrels' similarly beatwise "Love Comes First" is dominated by a lovely tune (and strangely off-kilter lyrics) delivered by a breathy singer. There is funkier material here as well, but in keeping with the album's theme, it's mostly quite slow and languorous in tone. Notable among these tracks are the "Omganic Mix" of "Hey," a sleepy and stripped-down piece of borderline trip-hop by Stolen Identity, and Edison Gem's "Lullaby," which, despite its title and its gentle acoustic guitar-driven arrangement, is funky in a pretty sharp and sturdy way (though its lyrics, including the baffling couplet "The audience of you/Brings my heart to its knees," are considerably less sharp and sturdy). On the slightly more uptempo side are the jazzily swinging "Bluetech's Mountain High Mix" of "Garden of Your Mind" by Hawke and the joyfully skipping Latin groove of Home & Garden's "Cortez." One or two tracks -- notably the somnolent "Inner Peace" by Aaron Sontag and Nica Brooke -- are maybe just a little bit too chilled for their own good, and veer just a little bit too close to the line (and granted, it's a fuzzy one) that separates groovy ambience from sappy new age. But this is an excellent compilation overall.

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