Various Pop Ambient 2011

Various Pop Ambient 2011
Kompakt provides us with its state of the quiet nation address for this new year, and the apparent mood is highly nebulous. Nebulous in the sense that last year's minimalist piano and austere strings have been atomized and remade into gaseous bands of sound by the artists involved. Jörg Burger (a long-time collaborator of Wolfgang Voigt's) provides a track under his Triola alias, with layers that pivot and spin along a central axis like a Rubik's Cube made of voices and ringtones. Voigt is even more restrained on "Rückverzauberung 1," a keyboard piece nostalgic for the early ambience of Eno, Steve Roden and Harold Budd. Bhutan Tiger Rescue plays to the "pop" side of the equation with "Beginner's Waltz," sounding every bit like an excerpt from a Sofia Coppola score. Other than Bargeld and Noto's "Bernsteinzimmer," Crato's "30.6.1881," a slightly ominous, Noto-derived bit of minimalism, and Mikkel Metal's pop offering, the beats are absent or ghostly at best. This year, it seems, that tone itself is the tone that's set. (Kompakt)