To coincide with the electronica revolution of the late '90s, Bill Laswell remixed a number of Bob Marley records as ambient dub for the Dreams of Freedom: Ambient Translations of Bob Marley in Dub album. If these songs were remixed by any other producer, the results could have been disastrous, but Laswell is one of the masters of intellectual dub – he knows what to take out and what to add, creating a spacious, cavernous mix that is provocative without being extreme. Some longtime Marley fans will balk at the very idea of the album, but the results are undeniably impressive, even if it's a little too restrained and cerebral to qualify as first-rate ambient dub for clubs.
The Café del Mar is perhaps most known around the world for its chill-out music compilations. The songs are described as balearic ambient, easy listening music. The collections of the music played at the café were first sold on cassette at the end of the 1980s. In 1994, the first official “Café del Mar” CD was released, which included works by world-renowned artists. Following the great success of the first release, a total of 18 volumes of the main compilation series have been published.
As compilations go this is up there with the best. 28 tracks of the Beach Boys at the top of their form (or close to the top, anyway). And at the price this is great value. It's easy to forget just how important the Beach Boys were to the progression of popular music in the 1960s. Brian Wilson used to watch what the Beatles were doing and try to match them on the artistic level. The Beach Boys 'Pet Sounds' was born of this rivalry and Paul McCartney regarded it as one of the greatest popular-music albums ever made. It spurred the Beatles to complete 'Revolver' and then make 'Sgt Pepper'. Brian Wilson was the Beach Boys' creative genius and when he broke down they lost their leadership position. However they left a huge repertoire of major hits, many of which are captured on this compilation. Some of the most finely crafted pop-music recordings ever made are here. Pete Doggett has written a paragraph in the accompanying booklet giving a little background to each of the tracks, which makes for interesting reading.
Memories Dreams Reflections is a double CD which encapsulates everything that Toby Marks' sound has evolved from, and into, over the past two decades. Featuring new tracks, remakes and overhauls of widely favoured classics, and not at all in the least, the stellar twenty two minute remake of the legendary Pink Floyd ensemble, “Echoes”, it illustrates in painstaking detail the history of Banco de Gaia. Disc 1 features cover versions of tunes which coloured Toby's musical growth as well as remakes of early, little-known, Banco classics. Disc 2 brings together live recordings from across years covering every aspect of the live and recorded sound.
21 years after No-Man's debut and 10 years after Bowness's previous solo release My Hotel Year, Tim Bowness returns on the Inside Out label with his ambitious second solo album, Abandoned Dancehall Dreams. Produced by Bowness and mixed by his No-Man band partner Steven Wilson, the album features performances from Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson), Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree), Anna Phoebe (Trans-Siberian Orchestra) and members of the No-Man live band (Stephen Bennett, Michael Bearpark, Pete Morgan, Steven Wilson, Andrew Booker and Steve Bingham).