2011 / Galactic Playground
Review by Michael Debbage
The last twelve months have been very challenging for Randy and Pamela Copus. With the studio and Pamela’s knee in complete disarray needing to be revamped and rehabilitated and at the same time taking on the Marc Enfroy project as producers, it would be easy to say that the distractions overpowered the results and for once we can overlook and excuse a 2002 project. Quite the contrary as Damayanti, despite all these distractions continues to bear the bountiful fruit that we have come to expect from the power duo who continues to be in a creative zone.
While Damayanti does not even come anywhere near close to the progressive nature of A Word In The Wind, there are underlying elements in the production and the arrangements that bestow a greater edge and exoticness than Wings II. Case and point can be found on the opening keyboards of “Forever My Love” that has an ever so slight distortion component that for the most part is a missing element in the trademark sound of 2002. Assisted by the elevating ethereal vocals alongside the melodramatic string arrangements only creates an epic soundtrack feel to this opening track. Crank up the volume on this one if you really want to be touched. The theatrical touch is also evident on the flowing “A Divine Encounter” with very similar dramatic results.
The progressive elements continue courtesy of “Flight Of The Swan” this time around with a heavy layer of sitar, percussion and Randy’s idle but inspiring guitar work much in the vernacular of Dire Straits Mark Knopfler. Pamela then joins Randy on the flute and instead of countering one another they create a grand twin lead effect while in perfect harmony. The opposite is heard on “A Divine Encounter” with Randy’s acoustic guitar driving the song countered by Pam’s flute work but the results are still celestial.
Otherwise, Damayanti is archetypal 2002 material with the piano, guitars, flute, ethereal vocal arrangements that have helped them become an almost permanent resident on Billboard and certainly one of the few viable survivors of the New Age genre. The occasional surprise can even be found in the more conventional compositions such as the bouncy “Destinies” which borrows from Enya’s "Orinoco Flow" or even their own “Stardust” dating back to The Sacred Well. This is in complete contrast with the more stripped away arrangements found on “Enduring Love” that only begs the question what about an even more refined organic 2002?
With or without label support, 2002 are a musical force that cannot be written off. With a winning streak that began with 1997’s Chrysalis, the Copus’ have managed to record and create triumph after triumph. Damayanti keeps this productive streak well intact, conveying a very underlying production element of A Word In The Wind but melodically and musically keeping more in line with the 2002 flagship sound.
May 7, 2011