So what could be said about Pop Ambient 2005 that hasn't been expressed about the previous four volumes? Well, for starters, a surprise appearance courtesy of the brilliant Gas would be enticing, if only the track hadn't been released years ago on the Pop album for Mille Plateaux. The same textbook whirls and swooshes are in abundance here, as are the same relaxing songs that unfold gradually. But what is missing here is a lack of quality control and the cohesion that made the other releases in the series so appealing. In fairness, Kompakt didn't issue much in the way of ambient in 2004 that hadn't already seen appearance on compact disc, but that's also where the problem of the 2005 edition lies. Thomas Fehlmann, much like Wolfgang Voight in 2002, opens and closes the disc with contributions under his own name and in collaboration with the Orb, and delivers one of his most beautiful moments in "With Oil," which is a beautiful closer worthy of mention among some of the series' finest moments. There's also an appearance for the first time in ages of kick drums and rhythms that aren't implied by textures. Contributions from outsiders, a staple in the series, are peculiarly absent, which could have brought stronger selections into the fold. Rehashing already blazed paths is unworthy of a label whose innovation and resuscitation of the genre goes unparalleled much of this decade. Pop Ambient 2005 isn't the strongest of the pack, but definitely not the label's weakest outing. However, if you look at the forest from the trees, Kompakt on their worst day still surpasses many on their best.
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AllMusic Review by Rob Theakston