Kompakt presents the 2014 edition of their beloved Pop Ambient series. First things first: the god of pads has returned. After a six year hiatus, Ulf Lohmann reports back to Pop Ambient. As one of the first to break the mould, Lohmann has shaped Kompakt’s early ambient sound in a decisive manner. Fortunately, his two tear-jerking masterpieces “PCC” and “Sicht” sound like he was never gone. Kompakt is also celebrating some sort of reunion with The Bionaut. It’s the alter ego JÃ¶rg Burger used back in the early ’90s, creating unforgettable hits such as “Everybody’s Kissing Everyone” and the album Lush Life Electronica, released via EMI’s infamous sub-label, Harvest. With the use of real guitars and vocals, the new “Triola Mix” of the 1992 classic “Aquamarine” gives you a promising foretaste of the upcoming Triola album and a Best of Bionaut compilation on Kompakt Klassiks. Complex and surprisingly varied, the 14th installment in the long-running Pop Ambient series continues with Thomas Fehlmann, whose contribution “Treatment” confidently combines the art of free-form vocabulary with well-chosen, economically set piano accents, followed by Simon Scott and Mikkel Metal, who indulge in a sensitive, reduced loop aesthetic complete with echoes of sing-along melodies. An indispensable Pop Ambient regular for a few years now, Marsen Jules endows this latest edition with “The Philosophers Trap” — reminiscent of architecture, it’s a bizarre soundscape of sublime elegance. Cologne Tape is actually a Kraut electronics all-star live project that has been dreamed up for the modern era. Their cut “Moorpark” is a picturesque gem of musical mushroom-hunting in the enchanted forest of illusions. Last but not least, Wolfgang Voigt makes a welcome entry. With “RÃ¼ckverzauberung 8,” he continues his eponymous project series in a reassured manner, with worryingly shimmering pads providing a necessary air of seriousness lurking at the fringes of beauty’s darker side. No less compelling is his remix of “Cupid’s Head,” the title-track of the latest full-length offering from The Field. Going by his project name Gas for the first time since 2008, Voigt once again showcases his unique, boundary-bending style between the abstract and the concrete, harmony and atonality, art and pop. The caring fusion of music from diverse artists and styles into an atmospherically-dense Gesamtkunstwerk makes the Pop Ambient compilation an unparalleled — and timeless — listening experience.