Chill Out- Library of Mu

Library of Mu record:
Title: Chill Out
Date: 27 January, 1990
Journal: NME
Author: Helen Mead
Type of resource: Reviews
Status: original
No. views: 9706
Description: more a history of ambient than a review of the LP (8/10)

Chill Out

By Helen Mead (27 January, 1990, NME)

"DON'T BE coy about it, call a house a bungalow, this is spliffing-up music!" said the Ed, and there was no room for a question mark. This was a fact. But for the coy among you - who wouldn't know a spliff from a reefer - this is Ambient House music. And to help you aquaint yourself with the newest genre off the presses are the KLF, Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty to their mummies and daddies, with an album of the stuff.

It's only fitting really that the popularity of all things ambient should tie in with an upsurge of interest in "herbal" drugs with their natural high on the club scene. If you're going all night dancing these days you're more likely to be offered a capsule of guarana or ginseng than a tab of E. It's a return to all things natural: buzzing plants rather than rushing drugs, while the music loses that promoted climax epitomised by the Groove Groove Melody production stable of Italian House and is replaced by waves, streams and tweety birds.

Ambient house music is the answer to stop House Music burning its candle at both ends, for although it is not dance music in terms of the 'Pump Up The Jam' variety it has evolved directly from the House scene where the message for the future was clear: chill out or burn out.

It was a problem nationwide. Ravers heading home at eight in the morning still exhibiting the classic symptoms of frantic neck spasms and 120 REMs a minute after dancing all night in a field and now desperately wanting to come down, relax, chill out... yet all there was at the end of the journey was a cup of tea and copious amounts of dope.

Armed with the anecdote were The KLF. Chaps with brothers and sisters old enough to tell them about Brian Eno, Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk and Fleetwood Mac - who knew exactly what was missing from the PG Tips with several spliffs formula.

The first warning of their exploits came with 'Madrigarda Eternal' on the CD of 'Kylie Said To Jason' last July - when The Triffids' guitarist started playing pedal steel guitar into a micophone at Club Benio, the KLF HQ. This is fairly typical of the sound we know and love as Ambient House.

Next came The Orb - Jimmy Cauty and Dr Alexender Patterson - with 20 minutes of 'Loving You' which instills a deep longing for a bath at every stress-laden point of the day, and to an extent the relaxing preening motions of 808 State's 'Pacific State', firmly whetting the appetite for more of this music that takes you on an instant regression trip.

Just the titles alone could ensure insomniacs eight hour sleep a night though: 'Bronsville Turnaround On The Tex-Mex Border', 'Pulling Out Of Ricardo And The Dusk Is Falling Fast' and 'Dream Time In Lake Jackson', are just the first three, there's another 11 in a pressing that neglects to separate one track from any other.

There's no need. It's not operating on a singles versus filler system. In fact, if you really felt the need, you could call it a concept album.

One things for sure: you'll never be able to get up for work if you put this on in the mornings. It's not so much that it distracts you as envelopes you, with music that samples from Jesus Loves You, 808 State, 'Albatross' and Elvis' 'In The Ghetto' and mixes it with birds, trains, sheep, automobiles, Hawaiian guitars and those pipe-things that Aborigines play until you're convinced you're listening to the perfect soundtrack for Jim Jarmusch's Mystery Train.

Be prepared to laugh though, when the last voice you hear belongs to Tommy Vance, announcing most definitely not to the fans of the Friday Rock Show "Into the '90s and beyond...". And remember, before your head hits the pillows to blow out the candles. (8/10)


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