The faint whisper of a piano’s melody is ready and waiting to greet all who dare to press play on Jason and Robin Campbell’s “Reflect – Metal of Tao,” the premier single from their acclaimed 2019 album Five Elements of Tao, but as listeners will discover in the seconds that follow its brief instrumental prologue, it represents only one of the many reasons why the track is a must-listen for new age fans this March. Pieced together as if to symbolize the reformation of a broken heart after years of pining and anti-cathartic retrospection, the keys in “Reflect – Metal of Tao” are the bedrock of this experimental ballad, and in many ways the other half of the dialogue singer Robin Campbell unleashes so seamlessly.
When Ms. Campbell does begin to sing, there isn’t a thing on this earth that could draw the spotlight away from her golden pipes – apart from a melancholic string part, that is. It flickers like a flame in the wind only to repeatedly spark back to life just when we think it’s about to be smothered away by the exchange between the keys and the vocal. There’s so much underlying pain here, so much undeniable reflection in the very tone of the instrumentation as it relates to the verses, but depending on who’s listening, breaking down what all of these raw emotions and evocative harmonies actually mean can take anywhere from a single listen to scores of nights spent poring over the details in all six songs on Five Elements of Tao.
While I would have adjusted the equalization on the backend of this track to include just a bit more midrange than what was ultimately produced in “Reflect – Metal of Tao,” I can get what Jason and Robin Campbell were trying to do in keeping the music just a little more scooped than it typically would be in a new age song as surreal and unbound by rhythm as this one is. By creating a physicality in both the mix itself and the music in its natural state, we’re getting the weightiness of the material on two separate fronts, allowing for maximum depth of connection between artist and audience here. That’s calculated songwriting if I’ve ever heard it, and yet nothing in this song sounds or feels all that complicated.
“Reflect – Metal of Tao” disappears into the darkness from which it came with much of the same grandiosity that it first begins with, but despite the cinematic design of the conclusion, the finality of the harmony at the end of this song only makes me want to play the track through all over again every time it comes full-circle. Jason and Robin Campbell might not be pursuing a permanent gig as a duo, but as a collaborative team, this brother and sister set should have a lot of pride in what they’ve released together in both this single and the album Five Elements of Tao. In a treasure chest of new age gems, their new material stands out as some of the shiniest.
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