Rauelsson’s driving beats slink through the after-hours, coasting through a neon-lit cityscape that’s been daubed in bright makeup. Fit for a night drive, the bleary-eyed music gazes out upon blurred electronic lighting and dim shop windows, its streets are like deserted ghost-towns, and a tiring melody skittles along a predetermined route at the speed of a night bus. Halogen lights bring a dark-jazz-influenced clarinet into the spotlight, illuminating its slithering, seductive-but-never-sleazy melody.
This sophomore (to be released on Sonic Pieces) is a continuous set, featuring organic, driven beats, dark, phantom electronics, and a wide array of acoustic instrumentation. As is standard for sequels, the music on Mirall has expanded, grown, evolved. Sequels get a bad rep, but this isn’t more of the same, nor does it go past the same streets. If it attempted to copy and paste Rauelsson’s original (and successful) blueprint, the music would only suffer. Besides, it’s completely natural for the music – and the artist – to keep on growing and to flirt with new ideas, taking up residency in differing nooks.
Mirall is at one with the night-owned shadows, vampiric in its preference for a night-drenched secrecy over the full, naked exposure of daylight. A piano will emerge, but even this is obscured by a rain-soaked crackling and a sleepy clarinet. The sedatives sit well with the more electronically-minded segments – the beats drive on, but they move at an easy speed, never hammering the throttle but instead making the transition to piano or clarinet a smooth one thanks to the cruising tempo. No gear change is required.
The strings of ‘Mistral’ provide a moment of relief and something close to transient joy: a moment where dawn awakens and the white light begins to shine into the room. Slowly, the track begins to wake up, but the dark edges hang around, dragging the music back down with it, kicking and screaming; perhaps this encounter was a false dawn. Mirall manages to retain a balanced feel despite its varied instrumentation, while the surprising and utterly gorgeous acapella of ‘Map of Mirrors’ leaves the listener gasping for air. The sublime song is a clearing, an ending, and the start of a new chapter, all at the same time. Heather Woods Broderick’s vocals are drawn-out and peaceable, producing an endless, golden stream that closes the album and signals the coming dawn.