Various Artists

Pop Ambient 2013

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Kompakt didn't release their expected 13th Total compilation in 2012. Fortunately for ambient enthusiasts, the label's Pop Ambient series kept humming (or whirring) along to a 2013 volume. The series adds three new contributors, but they're no freshmen. Michael Mayer, Kompakt's co-founder, makes his first series appearance with a Wolfgang Voigt mix of "Sully" that doesn't deviate much from the tranquil original version heard on Mantasy. Anton Kubikov of SCSI-9 also debuts; his "Ambianopolis" produces a slight chill with a reverb-cloaked piano ballad. Most interestingly, there's Terrapin, a partnership between label veterans Jörg Burger and Matias Aguayo; they provide a duly spooky cover of Pink Floyd's "Cirrus Minor" -- featuring the latter on faithfully slothful vocals -- that seems like it could switch into the same band's "Grantchester Meadows" at any moment. Burger's Triola, who has now issued a volume's worth of tracks through the series, drops another charming lullaby in the form of a tribute to film director Jean Vigo. Two pleasant surprises -- and highlights -- come from Leandro Fresco, who hadn't appeared on a Pop Ambient compilation in over a decade. While it's getting increasingly difficult to rank the volumes, very little of what's here is dispensable.

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