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I stumbled upon this album in a music stores bargain bucket a few weeks ago and being a sucker for a bargain could not turn down a double CD album priced at £2.99, as it happens I am glad I couldn't because it is in fact a really good album.
The Classic Chillout Album is an old album now and I am not 100% certain the music on it can really be classed as chilled out but I get what it means in that it is chilled out as far as dance tracks go.
There are 33 tracks in total and with only three of them not appealing to me it has to have been a good buy. There are classic tracks like "missing" by Everything but the girl, "Barber's Adagio For Strings" by William Orbit, "children" by Robert Miles and the outstanding "saltwater" by Chicane.
If you are not familiar with this type of music it can best be described as dance music with pop lyrics (ie) it has a more dancey upbeat rhythm than pop but it has the meaningful lyrics that are more common in pop tracks than in dance.
As I say there are three weak tracks for me on this album which are "At the River" by Groove Armada, "sweet harmony" by The Beloved and The X-Files theme tune (yes the x-files theme tune, god knows why that is on this album)!
I am unsure what you could expect to pay for this if you did not find it as I did in the bargain bucket but anything up to about £6 would be money well spent in my opinion.
It seems as though hundreds of Chillout CD compilations have been released over the last year or so, and at first I thought “what a great idea”, but I have to say I’m not so sure anymore. First off, as with any of these things (‘Ibiza’ compilations are another example) they’re very much a bandwagon thing, and the contents are not always that brilliant. Second, one person’s idea of ‘chillout’ music is not always the same as the next. “The classic chillout album” is one of the mainstream chillout compilations, a collection of ‘safe’ tracks. In fact, the choice of tracks is not just safe, it borders on the dull and humdrum. No, I’m being too kind, there are tracks here that I find tedious in the extreme. It starts of extremely well – CD1 kicks off with Groove Armada’s “At the river”, and of course Moby. Undeniably great tracks that are guaranteed to relax me, bringing to mind warm, sunny beaches and lazy days. But, listening to the whole thing I realise that there are many tracks that I simply don’t enjoy listening to all that much. CD2 is especially disappointing. The Art of Noise’s “Moments of love” jars (this is an example of a song that I personally would not describe as chillout music). There are also many tracks which are very dated – Clannad’s “Theme from Harry’s game” (1982), Ryuichi Sakamoto’s “Theme from Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence” (1980s), Ennio Morricone’s “Chi Mai” (yes, it’s been on a recent Friends Provident ad, but charted in 1981 as the theme from The Life and Times of Lloyd George). I mean, this is starting to sound like a trawl though your Mum and Dad’s easy listening collection! As far as CD2 is concerned, it’s not until Moby’s “Porcelain” (track 10) that I start to feel yay... this is
the kind of music I want to have on a chillout album. Overall, there are probably too many ‘classical’ tracks, although they are definitely ‘light classical’ and your average classical buff would no doubt derisively snort at them. I’d include tracks such as those by Michael Nyman in this category,a nd Chris Davis, whose “To a wild rose” is a blatant steal from Dvorak’s New world symphony. At the end of CD2 is Adie Mus’ “Cantus”, a massive and wonderful choral work, which I love to hear – but it sounds out of place here, as, for me, it’s quite rousing, not really very relaxing, in the chillout sense. Moby features twice over the 2 CDs, as does Joolz Gianni, both of whom are entirely appropriate on a chillout collection. There are many excellent tracks, and my favourites are Jakatta’s “American dream” and Morcheeba’s “World looking in”. Each CD runs at well over 1 hour, so it’s good value. But, overall, I have to say I am disappointed by the collection, musically speaking. CD1 is far superior to CD2, but I would never chose to play either in its entirety. Basically, it’s a chillout album that middle aged people might buy to play at dinner parties, hoping that they’ll impress their teenage kids into thinking that they’re trendy.
2001 wasn't really the year for "chillout" music, but some of those old classics kept being dragged back onto thousands of new compilations. The best of these being "The Classic Chillout Album (1)". To really get you relaxed, the first song (Slip Into Something More Comfortable by Kinobe) starts with the sound of gentle waves. Next, is Groove Armada's "At The River", which must be the ultimate chillout track. Track 3 livens up slightly with a remix of Everything But The Girl's "Missing". Not too sure why this is on here, but good never the less. I Monster's very unusual "Daydream In Blue" fits neatly in at 4th place. One problem though, the track finishes very sharply, should of been faded out. Up next is William Orbit's usual addition to chillout albums "Barber's Adagio For Strings". Although it is definetly a relaxation track, I find it quite boring and depressing now. The Beloved provide an essential mix of "Sweet Harmony" for track 6. I've heard this song so many times, and it just keeps getting better! Song number 7 (Robin Youngsmith's "Adagio") isn't up to much. I tend to skip it (that's if I haven't already dozed off). Quite pretty, though. Faithless' excellent groovy, totally chilled "Drifting Away" slots in in a superb way at number 8. "X-Files" (yes, you heard correct- The X-Files theme tune) is track 9, which is generally a brilliant laid out classic. But, you can't help seeing those aliens beaming out of a large UFO! Turn back time to 1996, and you get Robert Miles' chillout song of the year "Children". Luckily, the album just couldn't leave him out! Now track 11 is what I call "Exceptionally Superb!". "Nimrod" (By Chris Davies)is a nice and slow piece mainly consisti
ng of saxophones. I wonder what song 12(Moby's "Novio")sounds like? Not being too critical here, but doesn't the beginning sound just like Moby's "Porcelain"? (which is on the second disk). About a minute into the song, it is sadly ruined by some quite bad vocals. Oh, song 13 (Joolz Gianni's "Silver") send shivers down my spine it's so entertaining! I really can't see how you could hate it, the saxophone's once again make up another classic. Morcheeba's "World Looking in" is a credible chillout anthem, but they have strong hints of pop mixed in on this particular track. I have to say, Chicane has remixed this song in the best of ways. This huge chillout anthem of summer 1999 "Saltwater" features the creepy but effective vocals of Máire Brennan (Of Clannad, Enya's sister). To finish with (on the first disk), the biggest chilled track of 2001 "American Dream" wraps the album up nicely. The best part being where it quietens down into a piano. It's not finished already is it? Luckily, we're only half way through. Disk 2 starts off incredibly well, with a song that mainly features a strange mumbling lullaby of some kind. (You may have heard a sample of it on Mauro Picotto's "Komodo"). The song is by Deep Forest and is entitled "Sweet Lullaby". Art Of Noise are back with another song "Moments In Love which really isn't them at thier best. The same tune repeats through the whole song with people chanting "Moments In Love". Another suprise- NOT! Ennio Morricone's "Chi Mai" is on every Chillout album I can name. And with all due respect, it's a truly excellent chillout song! I'm sure this song was just on the other disk! Well, it was (sort of). This is the original version of "Saltwater", entitled "
;Harry's Game". Sounds much better with Chicane's mixing skills. Chris Davies returns ith a second helping of increbdible music. Maybe not as impressive as "Nimrod", but "To A Wild Rose" definetly has a good touch to it. There had to be one! Michael Nyman's "Molly" is totally sour. Although some may find the violins beautiful, I really can't stand the track. Way too chilled out to be likeable. The album's highpoint must be track 7: Enigma's gigantic 1990 hit "Sadeness Part 1". Latin and French lyrics mingled in with the best mixing I've ever experienced. It's such a pity Enigma didn't really do much else. Ryuichi Sakamoto has added some authentic Asian sound to the album with "Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence". Brilliant art, but Watergate's remake of the tune was well improved. Everyone has heard this Ennio Morricone track aswell! The chillout master has supplied one more song "The Mission"- Brilliant! Moby's also returned for one last hit "Porcelain". This was the 2000 chillout anthem, and will remain one of mine and most peoples favourites. "No Ordinary Morning" by Chicane is out of this world! Smooth vocals and great mixing. "Oxygene Part 2" is one of those tracks which you never know who does it (no offense Jean). You just assume it's a classic which is done by many artists, it's so good! Another track which is constantly firing out of my stereo! Next, is Delerium's "Silence". Not one scratch compared to the remix that was released around a year ago, but is magical in certain aspects. Track 14 is a beautiful, sweet saxophone number by Joolz Gianni. It's melody has a distinctive and memorable rhythm to it. (Entitled "Pavane Opus 50) Song 15 is an instrumental of Celine Dion's awful track "My H
eart Will Go On". Obviously, it's at least 100 times better minus the vocals (I usually find this with instrumentals). Quite hypnotic and peaceful. Just in case you're wondering, the name of the song is "Rose", and has been composed bu James Horner. Sweetly remastered anthem "The Flower Duet" (from the British Airways advert) is one of the finest tracks off the second CD. To close a successful Chillout Album, Adiemus' "Song Of Tears" flows along for over 8 minutes. A soothing song with lovely vocal chanting throughout. So, i've come to the conclusion that "The Classic Chillout Album" is the most comprehensive, full relaxation album of 2001.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Slip Into Something More Comfortable - Kinobe
2 At The River - Groove Armada
3 Missing - Everything But The Girl (Todd Terry Club Mix)
4 Daydream In Blue - I Monster
5 Barbers Adagio For Strings - William Orbit
6 Sweet Harmony - The Beloved (Live The Dream Mix)
7 Adagio - Robin Young-Smith (Dream Mix)
8 Drifting Away - Faithless
9 X-Files - Music Sculptors
10 Robert Miles - Children
11 Nimrod - Chris Davis
12 Novia - Moby
13 Silver - Joolz Gianni
14 World Looking In - Morcheeba
15 Saltwater - Chicane with Maire Brennan
16 American Dream - Jakatta
Disc #2 Tracklisting
1 Sweet Lullaby - Deep Forest
2 Moments In Love - Art of Noise
3 Chi Mai - Ennio Morricone
4 Theme From Harry's Game - Clannad
5 To A Wild Rose - Chris Davis
6 Molly (From the film Wonderland) - Michael Nyman
7 Sadeness (part one) - Enigma
8 Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence - Ryuichi Sakamoto
9 The Mission - Ennio Morricone
10 Porcelain - Moby
11 No Ordinary Morning - Chicane
12 Oxygene (part two) - Jean-Michel Jarre
13 Silence - Delerium
14 Pavane Opus. 50 - Joolz Gianni
15 Rose - James Horner
16 Flower Duet from Lakme - Robin Young-Smith
17 Cantus: Song of Tears - Adiemus