Somewhere between the late 80s and the turn of the millennium a quiet revolution in dance music took place: ambient house. In the clever hands of The Orb’s Alex Paterson and Jimmy Cauty, it mixed Floydian soundscapes with Hillage’s post-hippie come down beats.
Simultaneously – influenced by Peter Gabriel’s majestic soundtrack for The Last Temptation of Christ – Near-Eastern vocal styles and progressions broke the mainstream. Nuclearte’s Endo remembers all this. At their best, the Italian world dance artists channel elements of ambient, trance, Hillage, Eno and the soundtrack from Gladiator. From its outset, Endo conjures a soundscape redolent of Tuareg caravans and Saharan icy nights. Opener Argla shimmers with wails and mystery aplenty, but it’s the blend of old skool beats with world music riffs on tracks like Al Akay that hypnotise. Okay, there’s some less successful work on the album: Electra feels a wee bit Euro pap and the digital manipulations across the album’s vocals will infuriate some. However, Nuclearte have claimed a progressive ambient dance heritage that extends way back to Eno. At its best, as on the hypnotic Orb-like Iso’h, Endo is ace. So break out the glow sticks and play this with the lights down low.