Various Artists

Ultra Chilled, Vol. 1

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Despite the rather unfortunate title, Ultra Chilled, Vol. 1 assembles some of the most established names in down-tempo electronica and trip-hop, mixing them with some relative unknowns. The flow from Dido to Gorillaz to St. Germain to Morcheeba is deceptively smooth, as is what will be most listeners' introductions to acts like Zero 7 and Goldfrapp, with each song seamlessly blending into one another. The sequencing on the two-disc set is a little predictable, with many of the better-known artists grouped near the front of each disc, but little glimmers of familiarity (like Alex Gopher's "The Child" on disc two or the impeccable inclusion of Badly Drawn Boy's "The Shining" on the first disc) near the ends frame the collection nicely. What could be considered dusty artifacts in the world of electronic music (Massive Attack's 1991 song "Hymn of the Big Wheel" and Moby's 1992 "Go") sound fresh in this setting, mixed expertly by David Waxman. If just listening to an album could make you instantly cooler, this could very well be it.

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