Just Music is apparently one of the best known labels for memorable new ambient and electronic artistes. An example of their wares comes in the form of the album opener for this collection, 'Weightless' by Marconi Union, an eight minute instrumental romp through transcendental meditative synth sounds and relaxing sounding accompaniment. As you do. Claiming to put listeners into a trance-like state, this track alone has also been proven to reduce anxiety by 65% and slow heart rates by 35% (according to Time Magazine). The more cynical amongst us may proclaim these effects a result of boredom. But can six million worldwide listeners on Youtube really be wrong? And this is Vol. 4, after all.

Yes, 'The Ambient Zone' really does deliver in the relaxation stakes. There are a lot of contemplative acoustic guitars (a la Moby's more ambient offerings on 'Play'), a lot of piano (again, a bit like Moby), some lamenting guitar and then a bit more piano. You get the idea. There are some songs that sound a lot like Zero 7 (notably Digitonal; and Honeyroot's soft female vocals and strings). 'Beneath the ivy' by Loner sounds a bit like the piece from the Hamlet advert (in the late 80's? Or was it early 90's? You know the one anyway and if you don't, Youtube it), whereas Leo Abrahams sounds like something from an Ang Lee film (which makes it very pretty). All very pleasant indeed then. Mind you, I've seen Sigur Ros live (another act that no doubt has heavily influenced the composers here) and they left me not so much questioning the meaning of life but questioning where the nearest exit was. And, likewise, how good would any of these artists be if you had to listen to a whole collection of just their songs, not to mention standing in a muddy field? Would you expect to be entertained? Probably not. But if you want to introvert, chill out or just listen to some slightly self-indulgent, albeit talented, musicians for a nice antidote to indie guitars, raucous rap or annoying autotuned cheese, this is one for you. Definitely why the word 'pwetty' was invented anyway.

Released 10th December, 2012. Christmas got in the way, innit.

Anna C