A mash up of everything wrong with the radio format formerly known as smooth jazz.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Is Paul Hardcastle a talented musician? Yes...Has he made any strides in growth and development as an artist over the last half decade? None that are noticeable...
The Chill Lounge Volume 2 is more of the same tired, predictable, synth/pop oriented ear candy that has made Hardcastle a comfortable living while placing the unsuspecting public in a trance like state of pretentious acceptance that is "chill." It is...It leaves me cold.
The difference between this particular release and say VII is razor thin at best. This incredibly formatted easy listening starter kit is little more than ear candy gone wild. Not contemporary instrumental, funk or even an attempt at post modern new age, this is little more than muzak with a slightly more pronounced beat.
One extended mix of perhaps the same melody and rhythmic undercurrent that is found on literally every Hardcastle release over the last decade. "Transcontinental" gives the illusion of a slight musical pulse only for the listener to be lulled immediately back into the highly compressed sound scape of post modern nothingness. Keeping it all in the family, Maxine Hardcastle provides some glimmers of hope but not enough to save this second volume of rehashed grooves that have simply been beaten to death over time. There are seemingly borrowed hooks reminiscent of Motown during their prime but these grooves are never fully developed, a musical flat line. This is perhaps best described as ambient music gone horribly wrong. The perfect release for the local television affiliates to play behind school closings during inclement weather, little else.
A release best played for hospital patients not responding well to traditional sedation.
Tracks: Soft Rain; Come and Discover; Pulse of The Universe; Reflections; Crystal Whisper; Slippin Away; Transcontinental; Stepping on Shadows; Looking For You; Chillstep Echoes; Dreamin; Dance of the Wind; Summer Love (Chill Instrumental Remix).