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01/05/2004: "pop ambient 2004"

I passed out from exhaustion for a few hours this morning (after a long night spent working on grad school applications) listening to the Kompakt 'Pop Ambient 2004' compilation, an album I'd initially damned for being too underwhelming and 'nice'. The first time I heard it, it sounded all weak and watery to me -- like a cup of under-brewed chamomile tea, pale and lukewarm. But after a dark few days spent in espresso-fueled overdrive, pounded by a soundtrack of loud, headwrecking beats and the raw 4 a.m. despair of writing Ph.D. thesis proposals in the increasingly cruel, cruel light of morning, chamomile tea started to sound really appealing. So I put the little blue flower-bedecked CD in for a spin, even as my tired-but-still-overactive mind was protesting against it, and, as my rapidly firing neurons relaxed into a slow, steady burn...I found I liked it, was kind of hypnotized by it, as my brain slid out of calculator-mode and into soft-and-gooey mode, more sensitive and enraptured by small textural changes, ripples and waves and bits of color. It's not the best ambient album ever made by any stretch, but it's certainly pleasant, and interesting in places. And for the amount of precious calm it offered me on this cold, agitated January morning, it will hold a place in my heart, at least until next month rolls around.


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