06. Bright Eyes
09. We Are Ghosts
11. Save Your Heart
Epic. Stunning. Moving. Deep. Spectacular. Brilliant. Magical. Inspirational. Captivating. Masterful. Perfect. Those are just a handful of the words used by the media to describe the music of cinematic post-rock powerhouse LIGHTS & MOTION. The band's debut, Reanimation, has been called "the greatest debut album in post-rock history" and "album of the year" by several critics. And believe you me, they're weren't lying. Now imagine having a sophomore full-length ready for release just several months later? Few artists would yearn to be standing in shoes that big, smothered in pressure, knee deep in expectation. Enter LIGHTS & MOTION's braintrust: 25 year old self-taught, multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer, engineer, mixer and musical savant Christoffer Franzen. On his own, Franzen created every song on Save Your Heart in real-time during late night insomniac sessions awash in pure accident, imagination and improvisation. And the result? History. Tears of wonder, respect and admiration for the sheer magnitude and utter beauty of Save Your Heart will run down many a face after just one listen, as they did mine. This is what it sounds like in Heaven above. This is the music of angels.
"A year in the making and a many lonely nights have crystallized themselves into my new album Save Your Heart. In January, I gathered the courage to release my debut Reanimation and I haven't stopped since. In fact, I've barely left the studio all together. This isn't just music to me. This IS me. This is me doing the thing I love and sharing the things that I am most afraid of. Save Your Heart is about not giving up on those things that make you lose track of time, feel alive and realize there is something that you were born to do. Music is that way for me, and it has always been. At the same time, I know it's easy to give up on your dreams, because it takes courage and plenty of sacrifice. Vision and inspiration demand execution. So this new album isn't just eleven songs gathered in one place. It's my past and my present, it's my confidence and my insecurities, it's my brightest days and my darkest nights. Every day, I do my best not to lose sight of my dreams. On Save Your Heart, I wanted to push the sound of Lights & Motion further out, reaching upwards towards the stratosphere, higher up in the ether of space while daring to be bolder in both statement and style. Save Your Heart takes off where Reanimation left off, yet it retains a familiarity that is the Lights & Motion sound. I'm happy, excited and humbled to be sharing with you what I have been dreaming about lately..." says Franzen.
This is Deep Elm Records' 200th album release (DER-550).
"The perfect symphony of our wildest dreams...as if time has stopped and left us in a moment of eternal grace." - Alternativ News
"An even higher level of crescendo-induced bliss. One of the biggest post-rock albums of the year." - Stationary Travels
"Bound to be one of the most talked-about albums of 2013. Franzen is a magician..." - Stitched
"This year has been a whirlwind for Franzen, the driving force behind a little solo project you might have heard of called Lights & Motion. Inspired and ready to face the world, the project debuted with its first full length album Reanimation in January to much critical acclaim, instantly setting the bar for what has become a stellar year for the post-rock scene. In the months following the release of Reanimation, it felt like the only album people were talking about on a consistent basis. To be perfectly fair I'm not even sure if its popularity has even crested yet to this day. It puts a smile on my face when an album is able to garner attention outside of its respective genre and that's exactly what Reanimation did as word spread of something beautiful sweeping through the post-rock genre. Reanimation is a guitar focused journey through spiritual rebirth and triumph. Save Your Heart is a keyboard focal exploration to the depths of the soul, teaching us to remain true to the things we love, cherish and desire to be. Separately each of the 11 tracks capture the spectrum of the human element: cheerfulness, sadness, happiness, heartbreak, desire, tragedy, passion, the list goes on. In doing so, they spread roots as each song (or rather, anthem, which is really a more proper word to describe each track given how damn inspiring this album is) brilliantly flows into the next as the album's true beauty begins to blossom as it reaches its culmination. The listener is warmly greeted back to familiar territory with the intro track, Heartbeats as sensual piano is overtaken by increasingly present synthesizes that create a safe haven for the mind to wander. As marching percussion and free flowing guitar work enter the mix the song comes to fruition in a serenade of glorious crescendo filled emotion. Heartbeats serves to bridge the gap between Reanimation and 'Save your Heart.', but that's as far as the comparisons go as this is a much different album than its predecessor, as first indicated by Ultraviolet, a short two and a half minute composure that gives us our first taste of the stellar keyboard abilities of Franzen. You can really tell he felt most comfortable showcasing his emotions behind the keys this time around, whereas in Reanimation each guitar piece oozed with emotional prowess and distinctness and took center spotlight. I find it refreshing to see a multi-talented artist shift focus from one instrument to another at ease without changing the key foundation of their music. Sparks slows the album down with a heartfelt soft multi-layered guitar introduction as synths loom in the backing layers while drums occupy the forefront of the soundstage. Again this is just more of the classic Lights & Motion that was so prevalent on the first album, so as you can expect the song builds in both sound and energy as it should. Faint vocal harmonizing enters without notice before slowly moving forward to the mix as the track concludes in burst of momentous joy. Shimmer follows and is a testament of Lights & Motion's ability to do more with less as the number is predominantly synthesizers and a persistent drum beat that is met by a very casual soft-spoken guitar that just sort of hangs around doing its thing, never quite getting in the way, but ever so present. All of these elements I've talked about so far finally come together in one culminating fusion within the track Snow, which is where the album truly starts to take flight. It is the only track on the album that feels as though it would be at home on either album and the inspirations from the work on Reanimation are more present on this track than any other. It is the type of song you can hear a thousand times and still hear new sounds each time. It is a track that repeatedly has given me goosebumps on numerous occasions. A+. The Piano driven Bright Eyes is my go to track on Save Your Heart and has emerged as my early favorite. Franzen's innocently shy vocals in which he croons Come Bright Eyes...amidst a twinkly xylophone backdrop that is quickly followed by a swift build up is unequivocally the highlight of the album. Franzen has an angelic voice that is criminally underutilized on both albums. If it wasn't apparent yet that this album is very much keyboard centric, Crystalline is the track that will all but seal the deal. The keys in this track are alluring, enchanting and chalked ripe with the emotion of heartbreak and solace. What makes this track unique however is the 180 degree finish it manages to make without skipping a beat, evolving into a heavy breakdown of raw guitar and semi-aggressive drumming. Orbit is next to follow and serves a short transition track leading into We Are Ghosts, yet another number on the album that opens with a strong piano presence before blossoming into a beautiful flurried arrangement of instruments. Have I mentioned that I love the keys on this album? I feel like that is all I've talked about the last few paragraphs. I apologize if I'm gushing a little but they really are the most stellar element of this album. Atlas gives us a synth dominate track of epic proportions that we've come to know and love out of Lights & Motion. I think this song serves its purpose as an ideal set up for the album's closing track, which happens to also be the title track. Clocking in at just over two minutes it is the energetic culmination of what has been a storybook year in the life of young Franzen. An artist, a dreamer and a kindred spirit who has been fully exposed to the world through outpouring his soul and essence into his music. No track on either album feels like filler, everything serves purpose and has been given equal attention down to the slightest details. Save Your Heart and Reanimation are 1A and 1B to me. Not even by the tiniest of margins would I prefer one over the other, they are both on the same level, that being two of the greatest post-rock albums ever released. Never have I felt so in tune with the message that is being expressed to me through music. It is truly a work of art when a musician is able to connect with the listener in a way that transcends the music itself. Franzen's message of never losing sight of the things that you love has hit extremely close to home and with good reason. Each song is a brilliant journey that reinforces the idea that we were put here to do the things we love and be the people we want to be, not to be the people others perceive and tell us we should be. Save Your Heart delivers the message that we should aspire to live each day as though it is our last through touching, inspiring, melodramatic and engaging anthems that could relate to any moment in life. Quite simply put, Save Your Heart is likely my co-album of the year, it is an absolute must listen and an instant classic that caps off the single most impressive year for an artist I can remember. This album has brought joy to my heart and I am obsessing over it the same way I did with Reanimation. Reviewing music of this caliber and beauty is a responsibility and an undertaking that I hold dear to my heart. It is no coincidence that this album just happens to be Deep Elms 200th release in their impressive catalog." - Post-Rockstar
"In the modern realm of post-rock complexities, there are artists whose art and music has undertaken a certain breadth to it. But as you step back and listen to it as a whole, you often realize it is more burdensome than anything else. A lot of it is very weighty and careens into self-indulgent territory. Explosions In The Sky can write music that is breathtaking, but sometimes their songs are too long, Godspeed You! Black Emperor is similar, where experimental becomes the focal point instead of the beauty, and Mogwai and Tortoise unfortunately, are just far too dreary and mathematical. So there must be middle ground somewhere, and Swedish multi-instrumentalist Christoffer Franzen may just be it. Under the name Lights & Motion, Franzen has been making beautifully soaring, instrumental post-rock, but with a little more grace, a finished veneer, and a stratosphere's distance in emotional resonance. There is beauty in music and then there is Save Your Heart, a record so glistening with the sounds of perfect soundtracks the world over that it should be the sound of every successful spacewalk, moon landing, and the perfect dawn. We've thrown the word 'epic' around on numerous occasions, but it is by far the one word that is most suitable for Save Your Heart as Franzen has crafted songs that shine with the vision of a brightly burning star. Songs like 'Sparks' and 'Ultraviolet' are a mixture of pretty guitars, midtempo percussions, and soaring instrumental harmonies, all wrapped in a welcoming glow. 'Snow' is the album's longest excursion at 6:40 (a pop punk second compared to an Explosions song), and with its percussion-toned opening and graceful ascension, it is the album's finest moment. Keyboard sprinkles and Franzen's ability to craft music that is both reflective and optimistic is exemplified to near perfection. The album is succinct, and spends less time in tangents than most other post-rock artists which is a refreshing change for the genre. 'We Are Ghosts' erupts in a euphoric blaze of electronica-laced keys after painting a certain musical serenity, while 'Atlas' brings home the beautiful melancholic grace Save Your Heart is so good at doing. The album closes out with the title track, like an effective closing credits scroll, it is harmony in the end and a fitting bow to a memorable performance. Few albums will come this close in capturing the imagination of hope and promise in musical form. Save Your Heart's beauty and grace is one to savor." - The Marshalltown
"Lights & Motion is the biggest post-rock discovery of the year. With a beautiful debut album Reanimation released in January on Deep Elm, Christoffer Franzen delivers his second album in just 10 months...and it's impeccable from start to finish. All lovers of cinematic post-rock (a label rather well struck by their label) from the more ambient to the more sublime, will be delighted. The big plus of the album is that the piano is the basis of all compositions, which enhances the softness and beauty emanating from Save Your Heart. Do not miss this album." - Assis Sur Un Banc
"Talk about pressure. Since being catapulted into the post-rock scene earlier this year, life has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride for Christoffer Franzen, aka Lights & Motion. Franzen released his first album, Reanimation earlier this year on Deep Elm Records, and the label's founder John Szuch claimed that the album 'will be acknowledged as one of the most important post-rock albums ever to be made…and if this was the last album we ever released on Deep Elm Records, I would consider our 18 year mission an overwhelming success.' Pretty strong words, but the progress that Franzen has made over the past two years is nothing short of remarkable. Beginning in the fall of 2011, without any real education in music production, Franzen has since conquered the art of converting the music in his head to something that can be enjoyed by all. Reanimation made waves, with Aerials, Home and Drift becoming fan favorites quickly. Now, with almost a million Soundcloud followers, Franzen is back with another album, just ten months after his debut, and fans of Reanimation have a new reason to rejoice. Save Your Heart opens with Heartbeats, which welcomes back L&M fans and greets new ones with Franzen's tried and true method of an emotional build based on orchestral rock instrumentation. One would find themselves hard-pressed to argue that L&M's sound is anything short of epic, and Franzen is surely unafraid of embracing his flair for the dramatic. He begins with the simplest of riffs, expands upon it over and again until a menagerie of instruments are working in unison, allows the song to climax, and returns to the simplicity of the original melody before ending the tune. Heartbeats bleeds right into Ultraviolet, dense and action-packed at just under two and a half minutes. Really, these two tracks could be one, but the intensity is of such a different ilk that the split makes logistical sense. Whether it's the acoustic pop stylings of Sparks or the plodding procession of strings on Shimmer, Franzen makes everything work. There is a lot of variety here, but things are tied together by the emotional curvature that forms the basis for these songs, and the overall life-based aesthetic that Franzen has imparted on each of these eleven tracks. Moving from Point A to Point B in these songs is an exercise in listening awareness and in order to fully enjoy them, it's almost necessary to hear them at the right time. As a straight-through listen, the album is certainly enjoyable, but it won't be long before songs are associated with particular feelings, and eventually exact moments. And perhaps this is truly the mark of a successful cinematic artist - having your songs associated with life. Crystalline is quickly finding its way into the hearts of listeners, likely to be the album favorite, and after a listen, is it really that surprising? Franzen uses the inherent emotional power of the piano as the foundation for this nocturnal tune. The dissonance is fantastic, perhaps the highlight of the album, personally. But really, as melodic and harmonically beautiful as the rest of the album is, to hear those notes crashing into each other is quite poignant. Orbit was another personal favorite, due in large part to Franzen's temporal structure. Chords begin and resolve independently of the melody, creating a true swirling atmosphere that is simply enveloping for ninety seconds. The emotional curvature changes throughout the album, and more immediate precipices are found in the final two tracks, Atlas and Save Your Heart, which draw on the fountain of energy that springs forth earlier on than what is usual for Franzen. I almost wish that the album had closed with a slightly more open ending, in the form of the journey-themed Atlas, but perhaps after a few more listens, I'll reverse my thinking. There was a lot of hype before the release of Reanimation, but by and large, Franzen lived up to that hype, finding fans a plenty with his emotionally epic post-rock tunes. With his feet now at least partially wet, Franzen seems to have opened up a bit experimentally with this release. He breaks from the post-rock mold a bit and tracks like Crystalline and Orbit demonstrate that he has grown as an artist in between releases. Save Your Heart is cinematic, in that it was inspired by the cinema that is our lives. Post-rock, soundtrack, cinematic instrumental - call it what you will, just give it a listen.." - The Daily Album
"Lights & Motion's debut album Reanimation, which was released nearly a year ago, was welcomed with open arms by the post-rock world. It seemed like he would only be known in this music scene, but soon enough his work and hype exploded into mass media. What media, you ask? From movie trailers to TV commercials, it certainly has paid off as he is closing in on a whopping 777,000 SoundCloud followers. The only time we've seen that many followers for an artists is for high profile musicians and already famous celebrities. The numbers don't lie, much like his work. Save Your Heart is the official sophomore album for Christoffer Franzen and an epic expansion of his debut. He himself is a night owl, working feverishly under the stars to compose, to iterate, to define who he is and what he is capable of. Unlike his first album, Save Your Heart is piano driven, taking on a much larger role in his emotional conveyance. With that, comes the epic tale of his latest album. Wordless it may be, but the sheer power and the raw orchestral symphonies layers down upon us with such great force that makes it clear to us words or optional, not a necessity. If triumph is to Reanimation, then passion is to Save Your Heart. The album appropriately opens with a song titled Heartbeats. Calming strings and ambiance lure you into the first seconds of the album. Slowly but surely, the crescendo starts to get heavier and heavier as elements unite into releasing climax. The plateau of the song drops into an airy abyss, sending you well on your way to down a long journey of audio ecstasy. As you close your eyes and drift into Franzen's world in the waning seconds of Heartbeats, it seamlessly transitions into the following song called Ultraviolet. This short two minute song is the rapid explosion of tempo and decibel. The color ultraviolet is invisible to the naked eye, but Franzen has brought it to life for our ears to experience. Sparks is the first time we clearly hear a dominant guitar in the introduction. Love, if you will, seems to be the theme of this particular song. Franzen keeps things mellow overall, excluding crashing rides or overbearing effects. This song is also the first time we get a glimpse of vocals utilized, a precursor to further things to come in the album. One can say that Franzen isn't composing or developing albums, but instead pieces of art that emphasize the intangibles. He has a knack for pushing the rights buttons in our souls, and his secret is his heart. Pouring everything into these songs is his claim to fame, and it is surely snowballing with great effect. With a genuine outlook on his musical prowess, he leaves no room for error in his endeavors. Shimmer is a mostly ambient tune, focusing on orchestral strings. It's a relatively slow song, though everything Franzen does is for a reason. The pace of this particular tune has an underlying mood of shining through the tough days and times of your life. As it's titled, shimmering is the key to pace yourself through the mundane and the grey. To breakthrough, if you will. Leave it all behind, says the next song Snow. Booming toms kicks the medley off to score your adventurous prowess. Distinct vocals are mixed into the layering, giving it a majestic, yet light appeal to the song. However, we are quickly turned around in the latter half of Snow. It all breaks loose into a frenzied and explosive climax, much like the snow being picked up by violet winds, tossing it into a harmonic power trip. Bright Eyes marks the halfway point in our audio adventure, as well as a turn for the different. Here, we hear his first distinct vocals utilized in any of these songs. Though it does have some lyrics, the same quality of power and emotions ooze from the very bindings. The latter half of Save Your Heart hosts shorter rounds than compared to the opening half of songs. Tracks like the ambient Orbit or the haunting We Are Ghosts signify an emotional transition to a bittersweet end. Save Your Heart appropriately closes the album out and acts as the accumulation of everything up until that point with one final release. It's not that the album Save Your Heart is a package of songs, but more of an artist rendering of Franzen's emotions and feelings. Save Your Heart is definitely a worthy sophomore album to follow such a massive debut. It's a statement of Franzen's musical ability and passion. It's his love. It's his life. It's he, himself. It's yet another epic score for everything intangible. Love, lust, heartbreak, and passion are painted onto blank airwaves. It's an auditory canvas expertly brushed to convey the impossible. Save Your Heart is definitely an album of the times and will surely lay the path for Franzen and his ear to new heights and beyond, not only as a musician but as a master of the arts." - Earmilk
"Swedish post-rock outfit Lights & Motion released their debut album Reanimation back in January, and it was an immediate sure thing in my Top 10 for 2013. And then last week, Christoffer Franzen comes out with another fantastic full length, Save Your Heart. Of course his sophomore effort is just as gorgeous and cinematic. Of course it is grand and uplifting. Of course it continues to package all we love about post-rock into digestible, four-minute tracks. This greedy Swede thinks he can just show up, woo me with two incredible albums released within the same year, and expect to walk away occupying two spots on my Top Ten albums of 2013 list? Well you know what? I'm absolutely going to let him!" - Decoy Music
"A wistfully beautiful, emotion-building roller coaster that stirs the deepest fabrics of your soul. The perfect album to glue a broken heart and look forward to a hopeful future. The second overall success for Christoffer Franzen. Art in its purest form..." - SnoozeControl
"I like to think of Reanimation and Save Your Heart as being two halves of a set, and the way they interact with each other on back to back playthrough is a phenomenal addition to both albums. To evaluate the album overall, I believe this is a rare case where neither Reanimation nor Save Your Heart are best evaluated as separate entities. They work too well together not to be paired. While they may clearly borrow from each other, they compliment each other in a way that is tremendous, whether it was intended by Franzen or not. While Reanimation was energetic and empowering, Save Your Heart is very soothing and gentle...a beautiful creation, drifting along the celestial heights." - Absolute Punk
"Christoffer Franzen of Lights & Motion can see sound and wants his listeners to see it as well in the expansive hues and brush strokes that broadly define Save Your Heart. Franzen expertly plays all of the instruments and is accompanied on a number of tracks by Linnea Herlogssen whose gentle vocals are like lengthening shadows among the sonic contours. This is his second album this year with the first, Reanimation, hailed as one of the best cinematic post-rock debut records in the history of the genre. Personally, I am more drawn to Save Your Heart because it feels less urgent as guitars play a lesser role and more reflective almost to the point of loneliness as there is a thickness between the notes and movements. The trouble with trying to review cinematic post-rock (or transcendental neo-classical euphoric rock or whatever labels are being bandied about these days) is that all the good metaphors have been used, AND the nature of the music itself is meant to be engaged with the heart and not just the head. Save Your Heart is transcendent and evocative of broader horizons. I felt as if I were standing out in the open as the light is beginning to fade just on the cusp of twilight where the tones are beginning to soften and bleed together. It is this progressive series of moments that evolve into sound triggering emotion and feeling. Simply stated this is a stunning and triumphant record from start to finish. The ebb and flow of the Save Your Heart is brilliantly orchestrated as evidenced by its delicate opening with 'Heartbeats' which progresses gently to a full crescendo before winding back down seamlessly into 'Ultraviolet.' There is so much more that I could say, but any further musings from me on this record are truly unnecessary. Forego any further reading about Save Your Heart and take the time to sit and listen to it all the way through without distraction preferably in a place where you can see the effects of the changing of the light at day's end. This will provide the perfect context in which to be able to see the sound." - The Blue Indian
"This album, released just 10 months after his debut 'Reanimation', which satisfied more than just the post rock world, is Franzen's next genius step. While being more piano driven, it offers a vast landscape of emotions and orchestral elements that slowly build up a force and tension to form the right moment for the guitars and drums to kick in. Full of love and passion. Magnificent!" - Happy Rage
"A little over a year ago I did not know anything about Lights & Motion. Today I know that this is one of my favorite bands of late. Christoffer Franzen is the man behind Lights & Motion and he is so talented that you almost want to punch him in the face. He released his debut album, Reanimation, earlier this year and I declared it the best album of 2013. It is already time for the next one and my expectations are through the roof. Since the last album, his music has been featured in movie trailers, adverts and different showcases. From the first track, Heartbeats, I know the cinematic sound and style of Lights & Motion. I am glad to hear that he kept his form for this album. Somehow he also manages to keep up a nice level of variety of the songs. I love the softer approach to post-rock and even though he uses distorted guitars it never sounds too noisy. There is also a bigger use of keyboards and piano on this album with some very lovely melodies. Just listen to Sparks, Shimmer and Bright Eyes, wonderful songs. By the time you end with the title track Save Your Heart it is not a hard task reaching for the play button again. Just like Reanimation this album is best served as a whole. If you listen to it in one sitting you are taken on an epic journey through some truly beautiful landscapes of music and it is a journey you do not want to miss out on. But of course you can also pick out any song and have them stand by their own. I recommend playing this loud or with a nice set of headphones on. Just make sure that you do not miss any of the details in the music. If you, like me, enjoyed the previous album, you will like this as well. It is really as simple as that. Oh, if you ever meet Mr. Franzen, please do not punch him. Give him a hug instead and encourage him to make more fantastic music like this. I promise I will do the same. So maybe the biggest competition for album of the year comes from Lights & Motion himself? All I know is that he now has two of the best albums of 2013 and you must make sure not to miss either one of them." - Melodic
"If you've ever wished your life was like a movie, with music narrating major moments as they happen, post-rock project Lights & Motion should definitely be on your radar. Christoffer Franzen, the man behind the music, composes mostly instrumental songs that are all incredibly cinematic. His sophomore album, Save Your Heart does what a proper soundtrack should - make listeners feel something with each song. Shimmer combines synths and orchestral instruments to create the perfect song for those times when you're completely awestruck, so overwhelmed with the beauty of the moment that you're speechless. Snow, the longest song on the record at just over six-and-a-half minutes long, is just what you need after completing a major test or mastering a new skill or finally crossing that important task off your to-do list. It's triumphant and celebratory, with the bright percussion and synths practically giving you a pat on the back. Atlas, too, sounds celebratory but in a more personal way. In a movie, this song would play after the main character has found out that their crush likes them back or after they've resolved a problem that weighed heavily on their mind. In a way, Franzen seems like a magician, able to effortlessly evoke a variety of emotions from listeners across the album's 11 tracks. Save Your Heart is bound to be one of the most talked about albums of the year." - Stiched
"This is a beautifully optimistic album, the first track Heartbeats starts gradually with the light of new hope. It shines warmly on the soul and melts the last shadows of depression. The tempo picks up and takes us running through sunlit fields, to a place where a new beginning can be found. It sets the tone for the transcending experience of the whole album. For me it stands out in the genres of Post-rock and Cinematic music, it has something more to offer. Ultraviolet and Sparks carry us forward in a rush of elation and almost unbearable joy. Shimmer gives us a welcome moment to pause and catch our breath. The tone deepens and seems to contemplate the clouds above in darkening winter skies, and the cycle of life which dictates that everything must come to a natural end. We are taken on an emotional journey, a journey that we will never forget and which can only leave us changed. Snow is one of the most memorable songs for me, it sounds like the sparkle of snow on the ground and captures the childlike excitement of the first snowfall in winter. It invites us to dance with the children in the snow and follow their white footprints as they lead the way. The first track to feature vocals is Bright Eyes, the voice smoothly glides in between the piano and drums and beckons a girl, a woman, a lover to follow him on a journey of wonder and discovery through places as yet unimagined in this world. We travel with them and see through their eyes as the girl experiences an almost spiritual awakening. The soulful piano of Crystalline is melancholic and symbolizes coming to the end of something spectacular; a point in time or the loss of a dream perhaps. The sadness is punctuated by strong fatalistic minor notes on the piano. Just when the darkness begins to descend and hope is faint, the strings add their voice and lift us higher, ending in a crescendo of joy. All is not lost. Orbit is a departure from what we have experienced so far, it speaks of the universe and spreads the stars out one by one across a black velvet sky leaving us to marvel in disbelief at life, at the magnificence of it all. Atlas is a hearty celebration with solid depth and substance, music that holds us securely; a safe place for the spirit to rest. The whole album is a spiritual tonic with power enough to restore the most weary of body and soul. We end with the title track which takes us along at high speed and catapults us into a bright open pool of sheer joy. The heart jumps in and is immersed in the cool whispers of vocals which could be echoes of voices from the past. Gently the music ebbs away and sets us on our feet back to where we started." - Spaces FM
"What do you do after releasing one of the most acclaimed debuts of the year? That's the question overnight post-rock sensation Christoffer Franzen, better known to his fans as Lights & Motion, had to answer. After releasing Reanimation, he soon found his songs in film trailers, fan videos and even the Oscar ceremonies. Whatever he'd do next, one thing was for sure: the world would be watching with eager eyes. In that light, what's most impressive about his follow-up Save Your Heart, following Reanimation only ten months after its release, is that it truly feels like the next step in Franzen's self-realization as a musician. He very easily could have capitalized on his newfound fame by pumping out another LP of fist-pumping instrumental rock and called it a day. Instead, Save Your Heart finds him shading in new facets of his musical identity, even as it retains many of the same things that made everybody fall in love with him in the first place. Franzen calls himself a painter of sound, a musician whose modus operandi is to convey something vivid and beyond our world, and his latest certainly shades in his palette some. Reanimation was a gauntlet of peaks after peaks after peaks, an inspiring trip into euphoria; Save Your Heart, on the other hand, counters the joy with a bit more gravity. The somber piano chords that open Heartbeats set an introspective tone, and when twinkly xylophone melodies find their way in, they're pitched against four-on-the-floor bass drum and marching band snares, grounding the ethereal melodies. Even when the track explodes into a blitz of soaring strings and drums, it's not quite a triumph: it feels like something more. At times, Save Your Heart demands the listener's patience, but for good reason. Sparks opens with chilly guitar melodies and gradually adds on more, revealing intricacies as it continues to layer - but its most powerful moment is its ending, where instead of bursting at the seams it opts to strip down to its most essential elements. It's a small moment but a nice change of pace and a reminder of Franzen's gift for melody even in humbler settings. Shimmer progresses in a more conventional manner, but its pleasures are more subtle than expected, the atmosphere hushed and warm even at its most intense. It's Snow, however, that best delivers on its promises. The seven-minute track begins simply with a whimsical, wordless vocal refrain and a recurring piano line, but gradually it reveals a much more complex structure. Midway, the anticipated build-up stops for just a moment and we're treated to a quiet passage led by strings, only for the other instruments to come back in for one last go. The minute of ambient noise closing the song hits just the right note: peaceful but lush with possibilities, the winter teeming with unexpected life. Peer a little closer at the picture Franzen paints, however, and you'll see the frost forming at the edges. Coming from an artist known for soundtracking the epic side of life, Save Your Heart is surprisingly raw, even melancholy. Ambience is a prominent force: many of the songs don't end so much as they melt away, and this effect permeates the entire album with an unsettling ambiguity, as if there's something dark lurking in the corners of these compositions. Bright Eyes, for instance, may soar momentarily, but its whisper of an ending scatters wispy electronic synths in the wind, a sobering postscript to a brief moment of transcendence. Franzen also makes good use of empty space to convey feeling: on Crystalline, he brings the piano to the forefront, letting its lonely melodies sink into the listener's consciousness. The drums kick in, the strings rise, and the guitar gets thicker, but everything falls around the piano, more a manifestation of the sadness than a response to it. Yet Franzen counters the cold with fiery abandon, making for some of the most visceral moments of his career so far. Save Your Heart's shorter length works to his benefit here: though Reanimation's scope sometimes prevented him from getting too big too soon, here he can tap into his passion without reserve. Orbit gets in and out in under two minutes, just enough time for its swirls of noise to coalesce into something more foreboding before We Are Ghosts takes over and kicks off the album's ending stretch with a big bang. Composed as a dichotomy, the song first lays out its sadness in desolate piano chords before setting it all ablaze in a glorious burst of light. The towering Atlas and the explosive title track follow, each offering its own emotional resolution and closing the album on a reaffirming note. With Save Your Heart, Franzen reminds us that it's never easy to overcome our small tragedies, to hold onto our dreams, to embrace our best selves - precisely why he has to do this, to at least try and create a better world in his mind. Lights & Motion may have come back down to earth, but he's won my heart by saving his own." - Muzik Dizcovery
"It hasn't even been a year since we heard Lights & Motion's magical debut Reanimation, and we are back with a new record Save Your Heart that essentially continues the path taken by the young multi-instrumentalist Christoffer Franzen. If the onset had left us speechless for his immense ability to create soundtracks to our fantasies, dreams and emotions, this second part is not far behind. It is difficult to express the beauty of this record in words. Reference points are the most inspired Coldplay, Sigur Ros and dreamy M83. Save Your Heart is one of my albums of the year (along with Reanimation which is indispensable). What a talent this guy. Epic, passionate, enveloping and engaging, capable of transporting us into a real paradise of sound." - TroubleZine
"Lights & Motion is a true machine run by the Swedish multi-instrumentalist Christoffer Franzen. He played and recorded pretty much everything for both of his albums (Reanimation being the first). The album opens with a real mind-blowing synth driven song called Heartbeats. It truly creates an environment for the remaining 10 tracks, setting a whole new concept as they pass by. I just love the way he invites you to feel exactly what he felt making the songs, driving us all through an amazing, emotional and thrilling ride. And I also love how he connected each track, like he did with Heartbeats and Ultraviolet. It speaks of the amount of work that took to make this album the masterpiece it is. After that two track bomb, we float into Sparks and Shimmer, both calmer songs. Feels like a period of transition, leading to so many different feelings and situations. Then we are sucked into the massive Snow, where the drums and strings take over notoriously. I wish he had sung more on this record, cause he has a great voice and it shouldn't be kept aside. Bright Eyes is a track filled with hope and the vocals do stand out on this one. From here we soar to Crystalline, Orbit and We Are Ghosts. They feel darker, but not in a bad way. Crystalline captured me very quickly, making me forget where I was at the moment. The album reaches its final course with Atlas and the title track Save Your Heart. I honestly did not want the album to end. I mean, why would I ever want to leave this beautiful and unforgettable trip? It's not only a very well made record, it's a complete voyage which you shouldn't let aside. I recommend this album to every single person, and I also ask you all to buy this and support Chris' music. He deserves all the success and joy he has received this year." - Elevator Anthem
"Save Your Heart, the sophomore album from the freakishly talented, Swedish multi-instrumentalist and sound engineer Christoffer Franzen, is out on Deep Elm Records just a few short months after his heavily lauded debut album Reanimation, out in January of this year. Reflecting on how he hears music in colors, Franzen states that he wanted Save Your Heart to be 'more of a blueish or violet color in terms of sonic identity' whereas his first release Reanimation 'had more of a yellowish tone.' While that may be left to the imagination for now, there's one thing that is clear: if he is as he describes - a painter of sound - than he is undoubtedly an abstract-expressionist. The brilliant hues he incorporates, the unexpected dynamic shifts, the organic and at times otherworldly, shapes and textures he employs all cast him comfortably in that role. There's an undeniable cinematic quality in all he conveys, based on the rather simplistic intuition that any one of his songs would fit perfectly into a film soundtrack. The common denominator here is the innate feeling of movement; ever forward (think: thoughtful flashback montage, a long sequence in a moving car, or epic-sounding end credits). As an instrumental piece with only a single accent of vocals on the whole album, the listener must imagine the plot that accompanies each song. And each song definitely has one. Take opener Heartbeats, which describes the protagonist on the brink of turning his life around - the moment when the action he's about to undertake will change the direction of his life forever. It's a no regrets kind of song. In fact, this is a no regrets kind of album that sets a spacey, reflective and melancholy mood which for the most part, is an up-beat and triumphant soundtrack for the soul-searchers among us; powering through change and all that life can throw at us. Once again, well done sir." - Headwarmer
"Lights & Motion's debut album, Reanimation, was soaked in the yellowish hues of idealism and happiness. That record defied the somber conventions typical of post rock music and its glow is still radiating. While his latest sonic jewel Save Your Heart does indeed pick up where Reanimation left off, it does not drastically alter the Lights & Motion formula. The songs on Save Your Heart are comparatively shorter, but thanks to a wider dynamic range and a discrete use of space in the recordings they sound wider and more open. When the crescendos hit, they sound bigger than ever, but in between there are more nuances and sonic shades. We hear much more piano and voice on this record and every instrument is given moments to shine individually, including a very cool new distorted bass sound that Franzen uses on a couple of tracks. Among the highlights are the opening tracks, Heartbeats and Ultraviolet which blend seamless together and will immediately make fans of Reanimation at home, coming off almost like extensions of that album with their trademark build up and soaring crescendos. Also, a treat for longtime followers of Lights & Motion is the track which follows, a resplendent new recording of Sparks. Snow brings out a delicious new distorted bass sound and then builds up layer by layer to recreate a sense of child-like wonder that the title suggests. It ends up being a perfect segue into Bright Eyes where we are again reminded that Franzen is not just a fine composer and musician, but also a very good vocalist. On the latter half of the album Crystalline is a real stand out, beginning with just a piano and strings and then exploding to a rousing conclusion. Orbit then provides an atmospheric prologue which leads into a final trio of songs that are huge in scope and sound, We Are Ghosts, Atlas and the title track. While Reanimation was a leap of faith by Franzen, Save Your Heart is an assured follow up from an artist whose vision is being refined and whose confidence and abilities are growing. It should most definitely please fans of Lights & Motion and will undoubtedly win over many more new ones." - Stationary Travels
Read the reviews for "Reanimation" here.
Read the reviews for "Unreleased (Music for TV & Film)" here.