reviewed by Ben Hogwood
What’s the story?
In a little less than a year, Kompakt’s Connecting The Dots series has proved remarkably popular, as the label explore their substantial catalogue of electronic music. Now Alex Paterson, original founding member of The Orb, steps up to mine the more ambient side of the warehouse, pulling 17 out of the 15,000 available recordings to make a mix that would fall naturally into Kompakt’s Pop Ambient division.
The mix has been out for a while digitally, but has found its way on to Arcana’s early morning playlist in the last few weeks!
What’s the music like?
Extremely restful, providing a blissful 90-minute time out when needed – but also rewarding the closer listener, who can follow Paterson’s thought patterns as the meditative mood grows.
The Orb lynchpin starts with big, loping beats from Mohn, Schwarzer Schwan imposing a subtly menacing mood on proceedings. It doesn’t last, for the expansive Milk from Klimek is on hand. This track has like a series of long, slow breaths, taking its sweet time as each repetition leads gradually to a bigger, thicker sound.
Regular beats arrive once more with Markus Guentner’s mix of label founder Michael Mayer, Pensum held in place by a lovely suspended chord that you can dive into completely. The Orb’s own mix of Because Before by Ulf Lohmann is next, with lush slowly moving chords like a warm weather system. This blissful mood holds through the Fresco & Pfeiffer remix of Christian Löffler’s Pigment to ex-Orb member Thomas Fehlmann, and Treatment.
Each of the tracks is a good four and half minutes long at least, the slowly shifting mix paced just right. As it progresses we hear from Simon Scott, who spaces out his musical thoughts beautifully in Für Betty, and Andrew Thomas, static but meditative in I Am Here Where Are You. The mix reaches its zenith, however, with the quarter-hour penultimate track from Klimek. Music To Fall Asleep is a thing of beauty, drifting into a slow trance with a spatially altered guitar, against a background of softly pitched white noise. The coda is The Orb’s own Glen Coe, a cotton-wool glow of positive ambience and spoken word.
Does it all work?
It does – and a sure sign of this on the first few listens was that I couldn’t be bothered to check my player to see what the tracks were, or if indeed at some points we had even changed track! Such is the vibe behind Paterson’s choices, mixing and presentation.
Is it recommended?
Without hesitation. Paterson has so much experience in making fully immersive ambient music, and he clearly knows the corners of the Kompakt catalogue where the best possible mindful examples can be found. The artists not mentioned above – such as Gas and Walls – are testament to that. Nothing more need be said – just go and listen!
You can listen to clips from the mix and purchase from the Kompakt website