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Title: The Ambient Collection
Author: Tim Nicholson

ART OF NOISE
‘The Ambient Collection’
CHINA

Four years ago Art Of Noise was a spanner. Now it has settled for being a cog. Once the world’s first abstract pop group, they are now visible and tangible and eager to tell the world of their ambient past.

This remixed compilation sees phantom knob-twiddler Youth in the role of historian and propagandist, rewriting events so that Art Of Noise becomes the key to the front door of the ambient house. Thankfully the cheap plastic toys that have toppled off the AON assembly line in recent times (‘Legs’, ‘Peter Gunn’, ‘Dragnet’ and ‘Kiss’) are stored away in the memory banks of another computer. The prevailing tunes are those that show Art Of Noise at its very best, meandering off into a world where skeletons of songs are adorned with ornate jewellery.

Most of the tracks take their theme from Art Of Noise’s ambient blueprint ‘Moments In Love’, which echoes throughout the album. From the opening storm of thunder and rain for ‘Opus’, the pace is that of someone walking through unfamiliar streets, always looking curiously upward. Mighty oaks from little acorns have grown in the time it takes the idle movements of ‘Camilla’ to reach a conclusion, and the polite ‘Robinson Crusoe’ (borrowed from the haunting theme to the badly dubbed TV series, late of school holiday mornings) drifts in and out on the tide.

‘The Ambient Collection’ may be a field covered with astro-turf, but the concrete cows that graze there have their very own ambience. Art Of Noise is a master of sound in silence and a plastic spanner passes perfectly for an iron one in this state of suspended animation. So get down… and stay down.

****½

Tim Nicholson