CD: Deep Still Blue
Artist: 2002

Having recently reviewed “Damayanti,” the stunning new release by the group 2002, I once again have the opportunity and the pleasure of shining a light on another of their exquisite earlier musical masterpieces entitled  “Deep Still Blue.”  While this is categorized under “Music Reviews” it is actually a multi-media presentation containing a CD plus a DVD of breathtaking underwater photography set to music. This is the ninth release from the husband and wife duo of Pamela and Randy Copus, known as 2002, whose signature sound includes “romantic themes, opulent string arrangements, piano, acoustic guitar, harp, flute, and lush vocal textures.”

In my review of “Damayanti,” I called it “a soundtrack in search of a film” which referred to the cinematic quality of the music and how well it could accompany visual imagery. The DVD, which is part of the “Deep Still Blue” 2 disc set, is a perfect example of this.  Although it is not a film, per se, it is more of a slide show of still photos where the images dissolve in and out of each other and special effects are used that add motion, panning, zooming, etc. giving it the feel of a video. The underwater photographs by Susan Saibara are some of the most amazing I’ve seen. The exotic and otherworldly images often had me wondering what planet they were photographed on. I was also impressed with the transitions from one image to the next – masterfully done. A sample can be seen on the “Videos” page of their website.

Then, of course, there is the music – equally exquisite in its aquatic ambience that pervades the recording. I wrote in my previous review of how Randy and Pamela go to great lengths to create “celestial choirs” by layering many tracks of their voices, and how one of the songs had an “Enya-like feel.” This quality is even more present on “Deep Still Blue,” and is particularly evident on the first track “Where the Stars and Moon Play.” The vocal element recedes into the background a bit on the next song “When I See You Again,” leaving space for lovely liquid guitar lines by Randy. I appreciate in his playing an understated elegance that always compliments the piece perfectly. This is followed by the title track that has an ethereal yet epic quality featuring Pamela’s melodious flute work – first soloing over the background, then in unison with the “choir.” These are but a few of the many instruments these multi-talented artists perform on.

The staccato strings and lofty lyricism of “Sarah’s Rainbow” provide another Enya-esque echo, although in the inimitable style of 2002. The aforementioned understated elegance of Randy’s guitar playing is evident in his piano work as well on “Little Angel” where waves of strings, choirs, and cymbal rolls wash over his gentle melody. The appropriately named “Sweet Dreams” is indeed both sweet and dreamy with a drifting, far away quality that provides a perfect prelude to the album’s last track, “The Voyage Home” which feels like it was tailor-made for the final scenes of an epic film.

There is so much to recommend about “Deep Still Blue” that I hardly know where to begin. The 2-disc set comes with a gorgeous full-color 13-page booklet that features photos from the DVD as well as print versions of the song’s lyrics, credits, and other information. In addition to the lush music and imagery on the DVD, bonus features include an interview with 2002, as well as one with photographer Susan Saibara, who sadly passed away not long ago. As such, this serves as a wonderful legacy to her artistry and life’s work. In the interview she talks about how she got involved in scuba diving and photography, as well as the need for greater public awareness about ocean conservation. Pamela and Randy each speak about their own musical evolution, sources of inspiration, and their relationship not only as husband and wife, but also as creative partners. They also talked about how at the beginning of working on this project their young daughter faced a life-threatening illness and how that situation helped shape the development and direction of this CD. According to Pamela, “this album is a celebration of life in general and how precious it is.” Randy adds his belief in “how important it is that we live our lives to the fullest every day.”

Having the booklet and the DVD with these interviews adds so much to fully experiencing the music. You really get to know something about the people who created it and what inspired them. It’s especially gratifying to be able to have this available at a time when the trend is towards downloading mp3’s of single songs without even any cover art, let alone any information about the artists and their creative process. Deep Still Blue is so much more than just a CD – it is a holistic experience that immerses you in the world of 2002 for a few hours from which you emerge enchanted and expanded. It’s also one that you’ll be happy to dive into again and again.