Various Artists

Synthetic Pleasures, Vol. 2

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Continuing along the psychedelic, groove-electro path established by the original Synthetic Pleasures, this album could be slotted into any of several electronica subgenres: downbeat, trip-hop, electro, etc. It was released a year after its predecessor and two years after the documentary film of the same name. It features tracks by well-known DJs and electronica producers, including DJ Spooky and Single Cell Orchestra. This album, like the original, contains tracks from the soundtrack to the film, and many of them are soundscapes rather than actual songs. Rather than fitting neatly within specific genres, the tracks tend to lend themselves to certain moods. "Slots" by Chugga and the haunting "Knockout Drops" by Single Cell Orchestra could almost be from one of the Pure Moods samplers that were ubiquitous as the '90s gave way to the '00s. However, this is no mere new age compilation. It's a lot more progressive than that -- not to mention much more electronically enhanced. From the industrial breaks in "Sanctus" to the contemplative strings in "Est-Ce Que l'Amour Fait Mal?," the CD is a sampler of progressive ambient electronica circa the mid-'90s. Though the first Synthetic Pleasures soundtrack was released on dance music label Moonshine, this one was released by Caipirinha, the edgy, artsy production company that created the film.

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