London-based imprint Needwant have always been ahead of the game in regards to compilation albums, and their second instalment of Journeys invites you to get lost in your headphones in exactly what the title suggests - a quest to unwind and enjoy.
Following last year’s debut Escape. Sleep. Relax. Repeat. this CD features more of the same in the form of soothing tracks with a modern, forward-thinking twist. If it was any more laidback, it would be horizontal.
The album effortlessly entwines a mixture of ambient, folk-tinged electronica, with mesmerising lyrics, haunting piano work and incredibly structured drum work.
Opening with the German based Nils Frahm and his frequent collaborator Olafur Arnalds’ track ‘Life Story’ you immediately get a feel for what type of an album you’re in for. Slow, peaceful piano keys are at the forefront, with subtle sounds of nature supporting the track.
A highlight comes from Shivum Sharma and his piercing, emotional offering 'Flicker'. His vocal work is simply stunning, and takes you to a whole new, enchanting world, filled with nostalgia.
Featured artist Tracey Chattaway adds a touch of class with the cinematic ‘Starlights’. The strong use of strings makes this a cut above the rest, unleashing so much power that it could easily be mistaken for part of a soundtrack to a dramatic Hollywood blockbuster.
Teen Daze’s ‘Valley of Gardens’ follows. A trickling acoustic guitar is joined up by the spine-tingling violins. It's a refreshing change from his usual fast-paced ambient house style.
Another stand out track comes from Australian-based composer Luke Howard, whose grainy ‘Oculus’ features delicate piano and low-key synths.
With such a range of artists on this album, it is as much about discovering new talent as it is about celebrating those bigger names like Nils Frahm.
Journeys is a soundtrack suited to the background, in the most respectful way, rather than blared out of your speakers. It’s a seasonal album intended for those cosy days at home or for that long car ride. Savour every song.