“I made this album in the hopes that it would bring a little joy into your life in these crazy times,“ Lane 8 (real name Daniel Goldstein) revealed about his latest album. The 13-track LP, aptly titled Brightest Lights, holds true to this sentiment with lush keys, smooth grooves, and tender vocals.

“We are so bombarded with negative energy these days that it is sometimes easy to forget all the beautiful and positive things that happen every day," Goldstein further explained. "However small or seemingly insignificant, Brightest Lights is about celebrating and embracing the ups and downs of life and trying to see the world in a positive light.”

Brightest Lights begins with “Groundhog Day,” a radiant track that sets the stage for the rest of the album. It builds up slow and smooth. Vocal chops float in and out of the track, and percussion slowly rises to the surface. The kick drum, a vital force in electronic music, is absent for most of the track, emerging only for the last third of the song. This careful restraint is what Goldstein employs best throughout the album.

Goldstein’s latest offering isn’t an album about bombastic drops, attention-grabbing features, or Beatport-topping instrumentals. Brightest Lights shines in simple, soothing melodies, engaging progressions, and atmospheric soundscapes. The album is packed with emotion radiating through each song.

The San Francisco producer also shared the inspiration behind certain tracks. For example, “Just” has been in the works for around a decade. Goldstein explained that the breezy, dreamlike single captures “that joy of getting deeply into whatever it is that makes you tick.” The trance-inducing melody of the track concurs.

“Sunday Song” (which was in fact written on a Sunday) felt like a “home run” to Goldstein when he wrote it. Initial crowd reactions were poor, however, and Goldstein would have given up on the track if not for the encouragement of his team. After gradual tweaking, “Sunday Song” grew into one of the biggest tracks in Goldstein’s sets, an ode to “sticking to your guns no matter what, and if you believe in something it may just take some time to convince others that it’s worthwhile.”

After Goldstein mustered a burst of creative energy upon his CRSSD Festival performance last year, “The Gift” was born. Naturally, the song encapsulates channeling “the excitement and the adrenaline rush of a great show into making new music.” No wonder it’s the most energetic track off the album, mirroring the energy of a packed dance floor.

Revealing these little snippets of inspiration, Goldstein provided another layer for listeners to contextualize Brightest Lights. While instrumental music, which Brightest Lights is packed with, tends to be open to listener interpretation, Goldstein’s motivations give the music more direct meaning.

Emphatic vocals further build the impassioned theme of the album. Synth-pop band Poliça, featured on Goldstein’s hit “No Captain” off his previous album, make their mark on three songs, including the title track. Arctic Lake feature on two songs, while Jens Kuross and Kauf feature on another. 

Goldstein’s delicate production style complements each vocalist well. The sum of parts fuses on each collaboration to create an overall sound that mirrors the ambivalence of embracing life’s up and downs: empowering and defiant yet distantly yearning.

With the album out, Goldstein will now embark on a series of shows to celebrate. The Brightest Lights Tour will take Goldstein across North America and Europe, with artists from his This Never Happened label joining him on select dates. Knowing Goldstein’s tendency to curate shows grounded in the ethos of living in the moment, you can bet he’ll ensure phone-free concerts.

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