Kompakt’s Pop Ambient compilation series returns for its 2018 instalment, with series curator Wolfgang Voigt presenting another batch of hand-picked recordings from genre veterans and newcomers alike. The more seasoned among 2018’s contributors are easily identified by their individual artistic sensibilities, ranging from the morphing, organic rhythms of The Orb’s sample collages (on “Sky’s Falling”) to Kaito’s ethereal, trance-infused soundscapes (“Travelled Between Souls”) and Mikkel Metal’s intimate ambient songwriting (“Shame”). They join the ranks of Pop Ambient scholars such as or Adjunct’s Kenneth James Gibson (who pairs soaring strings with bubbly percussion on “Disinclined To Vacate”). Thore Pfeiffer be found working with genre mainstay Leandro Fresco on opener “Splinter”, crossing the growth rings of the Pop Ambient family tree with a subtle, atmospheric collaboration. Another welcome return to the roster, Jörg Burger dusts off his iconic Triola project last heard on Pop Ambient 2013 (KOMP 103CD, KOM 269LP, 2013) with the floating, echo-drenched cut “L’atalante”. After making his Pop Ambient debut on 2017’s instalment (KOMP 135CD, KOM 365LP, 2017), Yui Onodera continues his exploration of deep, intricate string sounds — compelling material that shows the Tokyo-based musician and architectural acoustic designer as a strong addition to the Pop Ambient talent pool. He’s joined by the two latest recruits to the series, both well-established artists in their own right: techno provocateur T.Raumschmiere flexes his drone muscles on the elegiac “Eterna”, while pedal steel guitar maestro Chuck Johnson creates expanding sonic spaces on the meditative “Brahmi” — a uniquely immersive cut that draws from the idiosyncratic country post-rock he established on his acclaimed Balsams full-length released in 2017. CD version features Magazine’s Jens-Uwe Beyer and Max Würden & Thore Pfeiffer.