Legendary film and music composer Sandeep Chowta and Peepal Tree guitarist Tony Das weaved some finely produced relaxing and calming vibes with their album Re-Laxman Vol 1, which was even considered for the Grammy ballots for Best New Age Album. Now, after the pandemic, Chowta and Das have ended up recreating their magic with an equally ambient follow-up, Re-Laxman Vol 2. The second volume is an album comprising of 9 songs, clocking at around 30 minutes.
The new album boasts of diverse sounds and influences, but Chowta and Das’s abilities and skills can be understood from the fact that the album was cooked up just in a couple of five months. Both tried making sense of the ‘new normal’ in the times of lockdowns and limited interaction, and as they themselves put it, the album serves as ‘the perfect antidote for the uncertainty and stress of this evolving and uncertain time’.
It is a perfect thematic successor to the first album with tracks that bear sophisticated production but make for easy listening. Both artists are also joined by three extremely talented bassists from all over the world. The featured guests include Anthony Crawford from the US, Seb Read from the UK, and Lucas Mattos from Brazil. The standout tracks can be Sunset 1984 and Object of my Affection. It’s hard to put in words the essence of each song but they are all distinct in their own ways while carrying the album’s relaxing theme at the same time.
Multiple instrumentals and high-grade production aside, some tracks feature equally calm vocals that are edited and phased to perfection (as in the case of the aforementioned Sunset 1984). Even though fans of experimental and new age instrumentals would love Re-Laxman Vol 2, this album will be quite a treat for several fans of other relaxing genres too like chillwave or lo-fi music.
Perhaps the best essence of Chowta and Das’s work can be experienced while closing one’s eyes and breathing without an iota of stress. Re-Laxman Vol 2 is easily one of the most soothing compilation of tracks when it comes to recent indie releases. Further, this album’s creation and its subsequent release all in this turbulent year bear further testimony to the legacy of its artists. From scoring iconic films like Satya to consistently experimenting with such albums, Sandeep Chowta has come a long way. While Tony Das has also provided his guitaring, bass playing, compositions, and writings for several bands and films, Das proves his individual prowess with this trailblazer of an album, when it comes to experimental projects.
Verdict: A heavily ambient and meditative collection of songs that stand true to its artists’ legacy.