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  • Jonathan Widran

2002, Time Traveler

Affectionately dubbed the “first family of new age music” by Michael Diamond of Music and Media Focus, the multi-instrumentalist trio of husband-and-wife Randy and Pamela Copus and daughter Sarah – collectively known as 2002 – are now 32 years into one of the genre’s most extraordinarily adventurous, accolade filled journeys.

As they reach a unique milestone with their 21st album Time Traveler, it seems appropriate to ask how they stay inspired to continuously create music that adheres to their trademark aesthetic (keyboards, orchestral textures, an array of exotic instruments) yet always sounds fresh, dynamic and innovative thanks to an array of new sonic textures each time out.

“There are so many places to find inspiration, it can often come from simply picking up an instrument and getting lost in it,” they respond. “We try to stay true to the signature sound that we have been told we have. We have always dabbled in various genres, blending them into the classic new age music sound. Some albums have huge stacks of complex vocals as well as lead lyrics, while other albums take a gentle approach with deeply romantic and classical overtones. Basically, we follow the muse wherever it decides to go. We enjoy incorporating beloved older instruments as well as not being afraid to try something new, such as the Theramin and the bass flute introduced on Time Traveler. Adding new instruments always causes a bit of excitement around here!”

That excitement will surely grip longtime fans and new listeners alike as they check out the songs featuring those unique new energies. Their liner notes package proudly shows a photo of Randy (whose array of instruments traditionally includes piano, electric cello and guitar) playing his Theramin, along with a brief description of how it is played. The text elaborates that on the mystical, reflective final track “Where You Are,” Randy plays the Moog Claravox, named after legendary Theremin virtuoso Clara Rockmore. The tune begins with a beautiful piano melody subtly enhanced with airy ambience before Randy digs in on the Theramin and takes the song to trippy, haunting and mesmerizing new levels. This one track is only part of the full experience of the album yet is something of a surreal odyssey unto itself.  

Reading further into the illustrated notes, we learn that while she has played flute since the age of eight, Pamela (whose instruments include harp, keyboards and WX5) had never previously tackled one the size of the bass flute she is playing on “The End of the Journey.” A descendant of the “albisiphone,” it is one octave lower than the standard C flute. The production on the deeply immersive sung is centered, however, not on a flute melody but on a sparse, graceful piano melody floating atop sweeping orchestral strings – with the flute providing a darker haunting harmony line as an underscore to create a stirring darkness and light effect.

To balance out the brand new, the liner notes make sure we know the enduring value of 2002’s trademark Yamaha DC7 grand piano, which they call “a joy to play” and is the foundation of many of 2002’s classic compositions. Sarah, who has been an integral part of 2002, providing vocals, Celtic harp, baritone, ukulele, piano and Irish whistle, since Trail of Dreams (2014) when she was just 10, composed what is perhaps the new album’s most moving and heartfelt piece, “Seasons Fade,” on this beloved piano.  

While several of 2002’s previous albums engage in time travel of a sort by exploring Greek, Hindu and Irish mythology (check out Wings, Savitri, The Emerald Way and Land of Forever, respectively), on Time Traveler the trio’s theme refers to something more personal. The songs were inspired, they say “by memories of the paths we chose to follow and of the friends who journeyed with us. Although they may have transitioned away from this world, they are always with us. They live in our hearts, immortal because their friendship enriched our lives. We believe we will see them again, someday, somewhere…Time is an illusion, a manmade construct.”

Included among these departed loved ones (all mentioned in the liner notes) are influential harpist Hilary Stagg (one of Pamela’s chief inspirations) and their friend John Purdy, whose glorious story of love and devotion with his wife Cindy inspired the lyrical and poignant “Love of My Life,” a piece featuring prominent flute and guest cellist Dan Totan.

Other key tracks include “The Morning Breeze,” the soulful and haunting first tune that rolls like the score to an opening credit sequence, featuring guest James Song on violin; the wistful and mystical “Falling Stars”; “The Essence of a Dream,” a gently swaying gem featuring a meditative guitar melody; and the moody and mysterious, thematically on point ‘Beyond the Veil.”

Yet another richly inspiring addition to 2002’s ever-growing legacy, Time Traveler offers a beautifully reflective invitation to both mourn the things and people we miss while celebrating their lives and the enduring impact they had on us. The trio reminds us, nothing is ever truly gone – it’s just a matter of time traveling in a way that transcends time and space to get there!  


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