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dot_clear.gif (43 bytes) 5 out of 5 (by HM)
Return to Music Page The Chillout Session - Ministry of Sound (CD Album)

"Blissed out beats from the best electronic and alternative artists" states the album sleeve and it truly sums up what this two cd album is all about. Chillout refers to a fast growing subgenre of electronic music that focuses on creating that chilled out atmosphere that is quickly becoming popular among club goers who need a place to come down after a night of head throbbing dancing. Don't get me wrong, this 29-track album is not entirely geared towards the late nighters, but has a much wider mass appeal since there are many genres and songs covered here.

No newcomer to the industry, Ministry of Sound has been defining dance music and dance culture throughout Europe for many years. In the past, The Chillout series has only been available as an import. "The Chillout Session" marks Ministry of Sound's first US created made in and made for America and features some exclusive tracks from a wide array of artists both electronica and alternative. Several more Ministry of Sound releases are planned specifically targeted towards US audiences in the near future.

NAJM Dance Culture
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Some of the album highlights from the first disc include Massive Attack's vocal based "Teardrop", Bozoo Bajou's "Down & Out", Nightmares on Wax's "Les Nuits", Static Revenger's "Happy People" (Chill Mix, which is my favorite track of the set), Underworld's "8 Ball", Beloved's slightly dated "Sweet Harmony", the sad but beautifully melodic "The Shining" by Badly Drawn Boy, the vocal soul pop "I'll Be Waiting" by Full Intention Presents Shena, and the Michael Jackson sounding "Level Green" by Hefner.

Highlights from the second disc include Sigur Ros' "Staralfur, MJ Cole's "I See", The Future Sound of London's "Papua New Guinea (Oil Funk Dub), the creepy "In The Bath" by Lemon Jelly (this track seems destined to being used in ads), dZihan & Kamien's "Smile" whose Moloko sounding vocals are keen, Lambchop's "Up With People" (Zero 7 mix), and the enlightened "Easter Song" by A Man Called Adam.

Overall the album is good peaceful listen. The songs are interesting while the moods they create are quite cerebral and very melodic with many textures explored. There are certainly stand out tracks, and there are songs that fall to the background, but the point of the compilation is to focus on the experience as a whole, from beginning to end. There is an enormous range of styles brought together to create the album and although not a dj mix set, for the most part all of the tracks bleed together to keep the tone moving forward. The songwriting ranges from brilliantly uplifting, to funerary, all the way to porn music! None the less, the album puts you in a new state of mind after listening to it, which isn't always a bad thing! So break out the pillows, dim the lights, rake your Zen garden, and settle in for a head trip that hopefully this time you'll remember!
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