With every new 2002 release, you can always rest assured that you will be absorbed into a fascinating dreamscape that uplifts as it soothes. If anything, WINGS II – RETURN TO FREEDOM takes these qualities to a new level. The music here is bright and whimsical with a strong sense of airy serenity. The album is heavier in the atmosphere department than previous releases, with less emphasis on vocals (the vocals here are wordless and well integrated into the shimmering backdrops). In fact, the album is one of their most ambient to date, featuring synth atmospheres that are dense and lush, like a warm bed that you can easily curl up in. Besides the billowing synths, some piano and 2002’s characteristic reverberated guitar come into the picture. Very relaxing! ~ Music Design
The album begins with the gorgeous title track that has all the bells and whistles that we can expect from 2002 including the chimes, swirling but soft synthesizers complimented by Randy’s beguiling guitar work. The song is followed by the mysterious “Memory Of The Sky” whose melody brings to mind a less energetic “Free To Fly” from their prior album, only this time shrouded in a very slow and purposeful state that will leave you floating in the air without the assistance of any altered state of chemical dependency.
Return To Freedom clocks in over 64 minutes with a total of 10 tracks that all run over 6 minutes long. The musical theme is much less structured than some of their recent material, and seems very purposeful in allowing you as the listener to escape the complexities of life. It seems the deeper you get into the album cuts the more spatial it becomes allowing to you to just drift away to your own personal escape. Though the loose structure returns on “Athena” with Pamela’s reserved flute work bringing out the melody without interfering with the ambient theme. If you really prefer the spatial theme that they seem to be exploring, fast forward to the cosmic “Stillpoint” that would be a terrific soundtrack for an evening of stargazing.
2002 geared us up at the start of 2009 with A Word In The Word and have now done the complete opposite courtesy of the healthy dose of relaxation therapy via Return To Freedom. No matter where your preference may lie on the 2002 music rainbow, the results are still the same…a musical delight of colors, shades and hues to escape from the routines and worries of a typical day. ~ Michael Debbage
The title song Return to Freedom has that dramatic and triumphant fanfare that usually signifies the return to the starting place. As if the experience has come full circle. For the musical duo of Randy and Pamela Copus, otherwise known as 2002, the album may have a hidden meaning, as they begin a new musical journey on their own label. For this experienced and talented duo, it will be what the business people call a lateral move. They begin anew on the level that they have already achieved and considering their lofty achievements to date the apex is and always was within their musical grasps. Excelsior!
Everything on the album indicates a rebirth, as a musical phoenix rising out of the ashes of the past. The echoing tune Memory of the Sky, a deliciously smooth piece of drift music is an advertiser’s dream soundtrack. It is very unforgettable. There is darkness and light, energy and stasis, and the moodiness of an anticipative god.
Stillpoint unleashes a musical tether as if from some huge, unseen jellyfish that just snakes out into the universe. It crawls, it slithers, and it senses and then it returns to the starting point, the Stillpoint, to consider what it has found.
It is no surprise that the story of a mystical bird that dies and rises from its ashes is known on every major continent. Although the Phoenix is thought to be the size of an eagle, it is said that it is so light that it crushes nothing. And such is the feeling from the tune Firebird. It is light in every sense of the word, weightless and radiant.
Sunlight Through a Feather dabbles into the world of Stravinsky and the mythology of the Firebird. For it is by a single feather that Prince Ivan was saved and won him the heart of Tsarevna. 2002 offers a song of soft light through a filter of dreams.
The ubiquitous drifting quality of the album is repeated rather strongly in the final cut, The End is the Beginning. Coming full circle is the warm droning cycles that all creatures and all processes must adhere to in the carbon world. The tune has a remarkable peacefulness to it. It is hopefully more of a musical portent than an ending to an amazing aural experience.
Rating: Very Good – RJ Lannan