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Album: Hydroponic Garden
Artist: Carbon Based Lifeforms
Label: Ultimae Records
Released: 2003
Summary: Angelic tracks that seamlessly fade into each other. Superb.

This sublime album is a perfect example of why it's worth your time tracking down music released by smaller, lesser known record labels. None of these tracks are catchy, hook-fuelled chart toppers. Instead, they're windows to peaceful places, fading in and out like a series of dreams. None of them are particularly memorable, but all are enjoyable and worth repeated listens.

As far as the actual sound goes, these are very professional sounding cuts. Whole tracks and single instruments gently fade in and out in a completely unobtrusive manner, while the delay is used to good effect. Everything sounds pleasant and gentle, yet there is certainly enough to hold your attention should you wish to devote it. There is the occasional gentle acid line or lush vocal, but nothing that would distract you from working while listening to it.

This is by no means an ambient album in the Brian Eno sense of the word: several of the tracks have steady rhythms, and there are plenty of different instruments in the mix at once, providing a rich soundscape. Nevertheless, it seems to be just as well suited to the role of late night background music as it is to having your undivided attention. The whole album exudes a floaty, dreamlike atmosphere.

All in all, this is a sublime album, and definitely worth hunting down.

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