Kompakt is the kind of label you wish you were signed to. Every lunchtime, the entire office staff gets a free, freshly-cooked meal made by a visiting chef. The owners all live in flats above the office and record in the studio below it. It's based in culture-rich Cologne, with a record shop on the ground floor. They've been releasing fun, flashy, self-aware techno, house and ambient music for twenty years.

That spirit of community and familial support has resulted in some of the most influential dance music ever made, and cemented Kompakt's reputation as the easygoing answer to the 'serious' dance boom. It has also evolved into an incredible range and depth of output, which so many stand-alone albums, singles and compilations that even a hardcore follower can feel dizzy just trying to keep track.

Getting annual ambient compilations out is one way of supporting the genre, emptying various producer's hard drives of titbits and half-glimpsed ideas, while offering the regular audience what has been well-described as a kind of pallet cleanser. The listener returns refreshed, without necessarily picking out any one track as particularly challenging or memorable. The effect is to cool and maintain the mind.

Pop Ambient 2014 is the fourteenth collection of theirs to focus purely on the primarily beat-less side of their output, although there are a couple of notable exceptions to that rule here. Not outstaying its welcome (a common problem for samplers that peddle transcendent music which can occasionally feel like it is treading water), there is a good diversity of experiments, albeit largely backed by familiar themes.

I find that the best way to review ambient music is to allow a little astral projection - write down the first thing that emerges in the psyche while having the sounds flow over you. Like psychoactive drugs, the more lucid the dream that is experienced, the better the product.

So: Thomas Fehlmann's 'Treatment' is a Manga-influenced epic in which a lithe cybernetic human hangs suspended in a blue, viscous liquid, fed intravenously by a kindly hive-mind. Mikkel Metal's 'Patience' is Do The Right Thing shot by David Lynch with lobsters providing slide guitar.

Elsewhere, The Bionaut returns, prior to Kompakt releasing a Best Of later this year. His offering, a remix of 1992's 'Aquamarine' is a welcome throwback to the early roots of what we recognise as Modern Ambient, and the most overwhelming thing on this collection. Also noteworthy is The Field's 'Cupid's Head', representative of the gloomier side of the genre in its urban-tinged scene of desolation and mounting fear. Ulf Lohmann also returns to the regular compilation with the whimsical 'PCC' and (to be honest) kind of lightweight 'Sicht'. Lohmann's pieces live very much within my own preconceptions of what Ambient is - new age, positivist and welcoming.

Reviewer's side note - writing about an ambient collection is made more difficult when it is watermarked with an annoying, diverting crackle that repeatedly interrupts to remind us that this is a promo. Kompakt, please do as most hip-hop labels used to do and just use this tool once, in the first thirty seconds or so of each track. The feeling of being immersed is so important with this kind of music, and the result is like having someone in a cinema repeatedly put a blacked-out motorcycle helmet on your head.