ZANG TUMMM TUMB ARTICLES “the first draft of history”

The Ambient Collection

CHINA 843403/MC/CD

WHAT WILL all this Ambient shenanigans come to? The nations youth tripped out of their heads on camomile and cocoa? Getting together deep in the night to hold hands and bliss out to bootleg videos of the BBC test pattern? Nights of mellowing-out in the ambient room of every club in town? None of the above, probably.

Ambient House is but one of the UK dance scenes ways of wrenching out the bottle of poppers that has been jammed up its nose since early ‘88. No one really knows what it means whether its pacy, spacy club records like ‘Pacific State, subtle sounds like Mr Fingers ‘What Above This Love?, groovy systems music like the sadly ignored Sidecut DBs ‘The Obvious EP, or the hardcore chill-out stuff like this.

The KLF had the idea first, as they often do, but their recent ‘Chill Out LP was a somewhat arbitrary collage of comforting sounds on which the joins were thinly disguised. The Art Of Noises contribution, produced and mixed by Youth, is a more musical affair.

Spooky melodies dub their way in and out of earshot, waves break, planes buzz left-to-right, sampled voices bend and stretch into odd shapes. Its a slipping, sliding, listening experience to escape into, leaving your body behind, which has a lighter intellectual baggage than your average Eno record but a lot more suss than the ghastly Windham Hill-style New Age.

In a way, Art Of Noise were born to this. Their ‘Moments In Love was the classic end-of-the-night float in ‘88 — and, anyway, their cachet of upbeat rhythms was looking a bit tawdry. Their new album is nice, charming and a wee bit silly. Ill still take Sun Ra, thanks.