James Murray – “Where Edges Meet” Review
February 9, 2009, 1:04 am
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Downtempo and ambient sounscapes effectively blending synthetic and organic sound sources. James Murray has created an engaging album of very individual electronic music, a wide variety of unusual sounds inhabiting his crystal clear soundscapes, brimming with subtle detail.

Static hum and light crackle warm the head space wherein attractive synth melodies and luminous washes dance and turn. The music is not overtly melodic, yet there are many beautifully understated themes and harmonious phrases. Strings well up in places, oriental snatches of sound and barely discernable voices, peculiar digital twitters, turbulence and metallic chimes too. There are plenty of drifting downtempo beats; deep muted kicks pumping lighter hits along littered with all manner of dreamy effects, softer hits and textural percussives all adding additional levels of interest. These broken breaks ebb and flow, minimal in places, just sufficient to suggest rhythm, absent entirely in other passages, then often welling up into languid regularity. Various influences hint their presence from far off jazz and neo-classical to more obvious chillout and low-key dub; achingly melancholic in some instances, wistful and hazy, urban sensibilities with natural frailties and imperfections.


The Ultimae team maintain their familiar black borders and lush panoramic imagery. This package bringing together the faded grey of the city and the gently luminous turquoise greens of nature. A darkly gleaming black butterfly clings to dangling stalk strands on the front cover of this three panel digipack. When fully opened out, the complete image extends across all sections with a tracklist in the centre. The inner design looks down on a deserted industrial space, a single shadowy figure away in the distance, the right side sees snow falling onto this same space, the middle image criss-crossed with the trails of passing feet and wheels, the makers of the tracks long gone. A generous sixteen page booklet accompanies the package – rich with imagery, there is the usual page per track of gorgeously atmospheric photographs. Credits and thanks are toward the back of the booklet, with contact details on the final page. In all a very high quality, attractive delivery.


James Murray is the latest artist to join French label Ultimae and his sound fits the label ethos perfectly. He is not entirely new to Ultimae, having appeared on the album Oxycanta – Winter Blooms, indeed this album has a similar feel to the ambient aspects of the Oxycanta releases. Where Edges Meet is Murray’s debut following various compilation contributions on em:t, psychonavigation and part2 records. London based Murray is described as an “electroacoustic sound artist, producer and multi-instrumentalist. His productions weave together elements of electronica, downtempo, jazz and dub in emotive explorations of how the organic and electronic interact”. If you enjoy the Ultimae house sound, Where Edges Meet is a natural for you – why not stream the tracks at Ultimae.

Review by Morpheus Music



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