London Based electro-acoustic sound artist James Murray is out with his debut album on Ultimae Records. Having had great tracks on the compilations Oxycanta Ė Winter Blooms back in 2007 & Spiral Trax Ė Ease Division 3 earlier in 2008 put some expectations on this album. Often artists I expect a lot from donít reach my sky high expectations but James has managed not only to reach them with Where Edges Meet but to surpass them by quite a distance. This album, for me, eclipses the other Ultimae releases in 2008, quickly becoming one of my favourite chillout albums of the last few years.
James has blended lush electronic soundscapes with acoustic elements magnificently into a moody urban tale. Piano & violin merge with glitchy electronic sounds fluidly making this sound not so much like simple electronic ambient, but a profound journey through the inner mind and outer views. Imagine walking through a city at 5am, the air is cold & still, movement is limited to a few other souls on which side of slumber you donít consider. The usual urban sounds are there but weaker, allowing the natural elements and the song in your own head the perception they require. Itís all very peaceful and lovely.
I really like all the tracks here but even on a great album like this there are standouts. The cold lonely beauty of Gaijin is heightened by the hi-tech noises in the background of the intro, the strings & piano play haunting melodies giving a real sense of isolation. The wind rushing through Fear of Falling is a nice example of how James adds natural sounds to the music adding a real narrative feeling to it. The title track Where Edges Meet perfectly sums up the whole album for me. The main melody effortlessly glides along creating an atmosphere so filled with emotion that one could almost weep at its beauty.
This is just an album that you can listen right through, great flow and it feels so much like you are being told a story. The music is so vivid, describing a cold melancholic urban fairytale that draws you in & before you know it the hour is up and you are ready to take the trip again. This is one you can listen to many times over & it still sounds fresh. The melodies are beautiful and haunting but they are the kinds that donít get stuck in your head and you will find amazing each time they are played.