Published Nov 27, 2018Kompakt's Pop Ambient series returns with its 19th iteration of a compilation they've delivered every year since 2001. The 13-track package also marks the electronic label's 25th anniversary.
Kompakt boss Wolfgang Voigt, a respected electronic music producer and DJ in his own right, selects music for the collection each year. His goal is to present ambient music with what he calls "a certain pop elegance." The disc's notes promise new classical and even atonal music contributions. Given the label's history of mining various styles of electronic music, the series has grown to represent a kind of calling card.
As is often the case though, the passion artists have for personal projects like this one doesn't always translate. Chances are you'll find this to be a rather ordinary collection of ambient music recordings, with a half-dozen or so exceptions. Pieces like Thomas Fehlmann's "Karenina" and Last Train to Brooklyn's "Bluebird" are lovely. Coupler and Gregor Schwellenbach deliver on the new classical promise with "A Plain of Reeds" and "Rot 2" respectively. The Black Frame offers a surprisingly effective guitar and vocal offering with "The Uncertainty Principle."
The rest of the collection is fairly run-of-the-mill ambient drone. Nothing offensive — we can assume Voigt has selected the best of the work submitted to him for this year's release — but regrettably, Pop Ambient 2019 has a kind of overwhelming pleasantness that runs contrary to the label's reason for being. (Kompakt)