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Some of the artists / bands on this CD I have heard of before but most are new to me. It is the second sampler by the databloem label and they certainly have a good ear for inventiveness and quality within what could loosely be called the ambient genre.

The first track ‘Sap’ by Mantacoup was recently reviewed along with their excellent album ‘Equinox’ so check there for further details. ‘Nano’ by Carbon Boy contrasts a very nice though quite complex melody with slow subtle rhythmic loops. It’s very effective but also rather relaxing. We then get what I think is a new track by databloem main act The Circular Ruins. ‘Empathy Test’ combines an intriguing array of sounds which seem to have many layers. Soft drones dominate but quite a rapid loop / sequence can be heard low in the mix fighting for attention amongst other sonic effects and faint samples. It’s the sort of track which you discover more about with each listen. Pulsations very slowly bubble to the surface out of a most tranquil setting of gentle pads on ‘Displaying Movements’ by Spielerei. They become the main feature taking the track forward at quite a pace. I loved it and even though it was nowhere near a powerhouse of a track I still found my head nodding to it. Best track on the CD so far.

We then go on to another highlight with ‘Sopra’ by Saul Stokes. It is the best track I have heard from him though must admit to being a little out of touch with his most recent works. It is highly melodic both in loop and lead line; though inventive and delicate it never becomes twee. It wouldn’t have been out of place on a Roedelius album. ‘China Radio Sunshine’ by Psychetropic is probably the most infectious number here. Loop after loop fitting in so well together with a little echoing lead line hitting the spot perfectly. The compiler of this album has done a wonderful job with the running order so that it works well as a CD in its own right not just a disjointed collection. ‘Qulina’ by ENV(itre) uses soft bell like tones as an introduction over which a lazy rhythm pulses out. It is joined by another creating a sort of off beat effect. There is a lovely section of tranquil float in the middle from which the track gradually reforms. ‘Mipoetri’ by Makunouchi Bento starts with sampled French text from which a slow loping rhythm emerges. Must admit this one didn’t quite light my candle. No doubt I have missed the point but it all seemed a bit messy and didn’t really do enough to hold my attention. Misty Hills by ‘Subradial’ repeats a hypnotic series of notes. Rhythms are added, one shuffling the other percussive with a long fade. It’s a very atmospheric number reminding me of a forest landscape late at night. Gradually ‘Bead Game’ by Vir Unis becomes more and more rhythmic, subtle staccato beat after staccato beat getting under the skin with soft pads hovering above it all. ‘Elumina’ by Cyscape is one of the most laid back tracks here. The pulsations are extremely subtle and overall the sound is rather sparse. It is quite a chilled way to finish.