Pop: Gerd

High, Wide and Wonderful, Life Enhancing Audio
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With its Transatlantik Lounging series, albums by Sven van Hees, Plastic Buddha and now this from Dutch producer Gert-Jan Bijl, Life Enhancing Audio is living up to its name. This is easily the best chillout album of the summer so far. Bijl integrates a host of "proper" instruments (mainly acoustic bass, trumpet, saxophone, oboe and harp) with his samples, electronica and Rhodes piano playing, but only in a harmonious, unforced way. It needs the dubby basslines to keep this concoction of light and breezy sounds grounded. Even the more uptempo samba numbers have a laidback vibe and there's not a single bad track on it. LP