James Murray | Embrace Storms
Slowcraft Records (LP/CD/DL)
Though I’ve heard his sounds before, Embrace Storms is my first full intro to London based composer James Murray‘s fully realized work. Two lengthy tracks open with In Your Head, an ambient work that reads: “Calm music for chaotic times” – an adage that I see as an increasing approach to quieter instrumental works these days. Though behind the mystical, slowed down vestiges here is a moderated groove, slight enough that it doesn’t break the momentum of the atmosphere.
Cogitative and lustrous, the fibrous stretch of his chords just seem endless, with the occasional glint of light or minimal percussion. If you’d imagine ‘music for waking up to’ this might be something fit to program into your personal home assistant. If there were a traditional ambient as a general form, this fits the bill. Slow, sensuous, dreamy.
In Your Heart is the second passage here, and it pretty much picks up from where it left off. This is a toned-down second cousin of Klaus Schulze, or part of the wave of those who innovate on the sleep concert movement. The heartbeat at its center helps move this spindly drones along. Somewhere in the middle here the smoothness collides with a fuzzy circulation that sort of re-loops things into something far more formless, dispersing in the way light, heat and water vapor do during the changing of the seasons. This was an irregular shapeshift that benefits the deep listener, instead of becoming strictly a melange of arcadian scales. Sounds to savor.