Name of Album: Earth and Air
Ratings: Personal - 3 General - 3
Release Date: November 26, 2002
The advancement of technology has led to a quasi-democratic movement in the world of entertainment. Every media imaginable is now both producible and publishable by the individual and the upstart. Everything from e-books, to digital (home) movies, to perhaps the most prolific, and maybe even most successfully—music.
Despite the ensuing controversy between non-conforming factions and the established industry, digital music in the form of MP3s and burned CDs has radically changed the way we listen to, share, distribute, sell, buy, and even appreciate sounds from all over the world.
But not everyone has a chance at commercial success. In the deluge a lot of talent will be lost, if never found to begin with. Kriztal Entertainment Group (KEG) my prove the exception to the norm.
KEG is a new label dedicated to "bringing quality, cutting-edge down tempo/chillout/lounge music to the Americas" They are doing so by introducing a compilation series of this hybrid genre entitled Elemental Chill, four separate albums with a variety of global representation organized into themes based on the four elements: Fire, Earth, Air and Water.
A quick run through two of these albums, volumes 2 and 3 (Earth and Air) left me with the impression that they were really meant to be heard in a certain element: a cocktail lounge sipping on a generously poured cosmopolitan, a gathering where non-intrusive waves of harmony should fill the background of an engaging conversation, or simply when one might be under the influence of natural forces that induce languor, mirth and introspection.
In the midst of reviewing these collections I was bereft of any such opportunity to relax and thus felt I could not review them justly. I can say I was not compelled to fast forward at any point, for most of it was poetic, even if in the end you were not enlightened by any meaning conveyed by the music nor carried anywhere new and enchanting by the experience of listening to it. No, after the albums were over I knew I was still where I started.
In other words, I did not take a trip on the exotic sojourn which KEG's promotional copy seemingly promised. Granted, much of the music was neither narcotic nor sleep-inducing, but rather actually neutralizing, meaning I remained motionless all the while the disc was in play mode. A while back, Giant Step promoted Prophesy by Nitin Sawhney, a splendid album which took one all over the place in the course of an hour—I had expected much the same from Elemental Chill, and so I was slightly disappointed.
Perhaps, parts 1 and 4 will arouse a different conclusion. For now, in an indifferent mood, I would have to give this pair of records a 3.
However, before I sign off, I will point out that there were a few selections that I was particularly enamored by and that alone would receive 4s and 5s:
Air: So Easy/Royksopp, Blue Angel/Slop Shop, Time is the Enemy/Quantic Earth: September/Greg Lang, Missione a Bombay/Nicola Conte