Ten artists combine forces to bring forth peaceful tones and embark into 2021 on the latest excursion from Anjunadeep, Reflections Vol. 2.
Last year, Anjunadeep surprised fans with the calm moodiness of Reflections Vol. 1 – a ten-track affair that highlighted the softer side of the label. Featuring acts such as Qrion, Nox Vahn, Lane 8, and Yotto, fans rejoiced in the atmosphere injected into the year’s turmoil. Last week, the label announced the second volume of Reflections, and with it came “Don’t Bite,” the debut track from REVE D’ELLE.
Despite the challenges facing the world, between the pandemic and the general unease in society politically and economically, it is important to keep the mind clear and the heart steady. Reflections Vol. 2 is an ode to this mindset – clarity can prevail if you let it seep into you. And now we may explore the peaceful, pensive soundscapes it offers.
In our exploration, we find the serene and simple guiding us forward as Reflections Vol. 2 leans heavily on ambient atmospheres, the piano, and spaces to breathe. It recalls the brilliance of Above & Beyond’s Flow State album while still leaving it at arm’s length. The second volume also continues the mindfulness of Reflections Vol. 1 while setting itself apart, perhaps even deeper into the downtempo sphere than Anjunadeep ever explored before.
But before we dive into the release, here’s a quick taste of what’s in store. Aside from the debut tune from REVE D’ELLE, the compilation also sees the return of Croquet Club to the series. Some of the standout tracks across its runtime include “Morning U” by Jody Wisternoff, “Love Theme” by Martin Roth, and “Saisei” by Lycoriscoris.
With that out of the way, let us reflect on the sounds Reflections Vol. 2 provides to set the table for 2021’s mellow and chilled side. Listen to the compilation on Spotify or your preferred platform, and read on for a track-by-track analysis.
Stream Anjunadeep presents: Reflections Vol. 2 on Spotify:
REVE D’ELLE – Don’t Bite
Opening with a vocal track is a surprise, but a welcome one. The soft back and forth of strings and bass in this one play with the layered whispering vocal performance. The bass elements provide the only common reference to time before the snare joins softly late in the second verse. This soft tune oozes late-night lounge flair – and is a fantastic choice from Fur Skillman of Eli & Fur.
Kidnap – Silence (Acoustic)
The acoustic performance of “Silence” of Kidnap brings out an instrument choice key to many of the tracks on this compilation. The short performance – barely breaking the one and a half (1:30) duration mark does not take away from the emotion played forth by the piano here. If you fancy a bit of classical atmosphere, “Silence” in its acoustic form challenges you to take stock in the moment.
Martin Roth – Love Theme
Martin Roth shows off his piano skills in this enchanting piece. Just shown a few days ago (watch the video below), Martin plays with the feelings of innocence, fear, growth, and triumph. “Love Theme” harnesses emotions inside the listener to bring memories to bear. The melodies loop through small variations and the added strings and echoes add tension and release throughout the work. The soft tickled melody on the highest notes enchants the ears while the core keeps the heart.
Jody Wisternoff – Morning U
Taken from Jody’s most recent album, “Morning U” is both haunting and brilliant at the same time. The core melody elements recall Peace Orchestra’s famous “Who Am I?” Reflection feels simple and important as the violin takes the listener on its journey to the brightening skies. This one feels at home almost anywhere – a long drive by yourself to an unconfirmed location, a sandy shore or desert or mountain watching the sun peek over the horizon, or even at the cocktail hours of a place like Café del Mar. The lyric – though processed – even offers an opening to the grander self: “That’s where, we need to be, in our own lovely, free, joyful, innocent spaces.”
Croquet Club – Night Lights
Finally released in full after first appearing on Anjunadeep 09, Croquet Club’s “Night Lights” remains a gifted stunner. The soft tailing echo on the chords and the drawn-out airy synthesizers make the track full of atmosphere. It lifts in the right spots, stays a loft with the mood it generates, and crescendos with an easy guitar line that feels like the soft lick of water at the calm shoreline of the mind. Blissful.
Luttrell – October Song
Opening with what sounds like Celtic strings or a quiet set of bagpipes before dropping into the piano, Luttrell’s “October Song” shows the brilliance of his productions. A deep, broken beat pattern permeates the tempo of the track while fades and filters provide a vista for the tension rising in the song as it progresses. The ending could use a bit of development – as it just loops and fades – but boy does this one breathe.
Lycoriscoris – Saisei
Sculpted around what sounds like a real recorded piano for the core melody, Lycoriscoris’ “Saisei” feels both haunting and mesmerizing at the same time. Expert craftwork went into the placement of each layer of sound. While the melody does play through in its entirety twice, it does not take away from any of the beauty here. Just give yourself the time to get lost in the second-longest track of the compilation.
Luigi Sambuy – Ocean
Luigi Sambury’s “Ocean takes us below the waterline with a hypnotizing use of choral vocals and a plodding piano as a lead. Halfway through, the sun shines through the depths and illuminates the beauty of the seafloor for us to gaze in wonder at. Ping-pong echoes bounce from left to right and back again, reminding us that the rhythms of life never empty and are always in motion.
Tryst – The Bay
Following “Ocean” with “The Bay” just feels right on so many levels. Tyrst’s work here recalls the bohemian roots of the Balearic Islands. The ethnic rhythms and softly echoed guitar line pull at the images of the Sunset Strip on the west side of Ibiza. Cocktails and the murmur of conversation instantly leap into the mind’s eye with “The Bay.” The vibe here is distinct from much of the rest of the compilation – offering a better helping of brighter days ahead perhaps.
Dotmaka – Kiss
Dotmaka’s “Kiss” closes the compilation as the longest track overall. Fittingly, it also blends many of the elements of all the tracks earlier – strong airy pads that wash over the upper levels of the song, ethnic flairs that recall the island vibes, guitar lines faded deep into the background, and fills that remind us that the rhythm can always be organic. If anything, “Kiss” flows through elements – not as a performance, but as an effort to slice into life. What comes of this producer’s future will be a joy to see.
Anjunadeep presents: Reflections Vol. 2 – Tracklist:
- REVE D’ELLE – Don’t Bite
- Kidnap – Silence (Acoustic)
- Martin Roth – Love Theme
- Jody Wisternoff – Morning U
- Croquet Club – Night Lights
- Luttrell – October Song
- Lycoriscoris – Saisei
- Luigi Sambuy – Ocean
- Tryst – The Bay
- Dotmaka – Kiss