ministry of sound

Relax, take a chill pill. Or you could just try a musical compilation. Ministry of Sound’s Chillout Sessions XV brings together 42 tracks across two CDs. If it came with directions these would read: “For maximum enjoyment play while lying in a hammock, sitting at the beach or taking a snooze in the sun”.

Let’s be clear that this is not a sleepy set. It does gather together some really high quality talent found both locally and abroad, with an emphasis on the former. Once upon on a time these compilations meant simply lounge or easily listening music. Then they graduated to songs by guys or gals singing caution to the wind with just an acoustic guitar. Nowadays there has been a shift in genres once again and the attention has been squared on mid-tempo pop and stripped-back electro beats to varying levels of success.

Among the highlights are artists like The Presets, The XX, Grimes, Elton John Vs Pnau, The Temper Trap and Lana Del Rey. As expected, Gotye has made the cut with Yeasayer’s remix of his hit song, ‘Eyes Wide Open’. The result is that this political pop song gets turned into an underwater fantasy while Missy Higgins’ ‘Everyone’s Waiting’ remains its breathy, folk self. It’s as quiet and fragile as a whisper until the gospel choir cuts loose at the end.

On disc two Storm Queen’s ‘Look Right Through’ gets a repeat showing from last year’s set. It’s not a bad number but the collection would’ve been better without it. The track that shares its position on the first disc is much stronger even though its one of the softer ballads of the set. It is Angus Stone with his melancholy, ‘Broken Brights’ while in the left corner Florence + The Machine takes a different approach once again. ‘Spectrum’ is a powerful dance number driven by Florence Welch’s  stunning vocals.

Chillout Sessions XV is about quiet contemplation while celebrating both local and international artists with yet another solid instalment to the successful franchise. The success of the set comes down to the sheer variety on offer, as there are many tracks to suit the different moods of just about any quiet and lazy recreational sport or pastime. Bliss.

Originally published on 10 March 2013 at the following website:

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