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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

JAMES MURRAY: Eyes to the Height (2016)

“Invading, Eyes to the Height had the same effect on me as when I was getting addicted to Until We Meet the Sky from Solar Fields”

1 The Black and the Grey 5:44 2 Holloways 5:55 3 What can be Done 6:14 4 Particles (Part 1) 6:10 5 Eyes to the Height 4:58 6 Ghostwalking 6:02 7 Passing Places 5:25 8 Laterisers 5:47 9 Particles (Part 2) 5:14 10 Copestone 7:01 Inre087

(Digipack/DDL 58:37) (V.F) (Psybient)

It's been a while since I hoped to find another artist that has a sound aestheticism as touching as that of Magnus Birgersson. To say the least in his album Until we Meet the Sky, released in 2011. Well, this last James Murray's opus is a deserving aspiring one. Sculptured in a panoramic vision as brilliant as this work of Solar Fields, EYES TO THE HEIGHT is fulfilling our ears with a soundscape as luxuriant as the secrets of a sonic forest lost in the Eden of Ultimae Records and where is lost another forest always so immaculate.

This interstitial journey in the universe of synths begins with sound arcs that consume themselves like furrows of milk in a coffee. The slow movement of The Black and the Grey radiates of these shadows of praline that couple with threadlike synth lines to the scarlet colors. Pulsations add a timid techno approach for Zombies to become in a sound fauna where voices murmur a prayer imprecise to our ears. This first title redefines the barriers of this this comeback opus of James Murray on the Lyon-based label. The slow movement hides a crescendo which will be more visible on other titles while a sibylline melody makes its way throughout a noisy fauna. Totally seducing noises which weaken their fragilities in Holloways for a more seraphic presence. The approach is at both slow and heavy with percussions and soft cymbals which accompany a procession of borborygmus pulsations coming from the interstices of the sonorous cloth. We float like we dream, watching mermaids basking on an interstellar ice floe. What can be Done is our first rendezvous with our emotions. On a soft structure of rhythm tied up at a crescendo, the slow movement is adorned with a panoply of ambient noises which wind a top cicatrized of its rocky papules. The play of the echoes between the percussions and the pulsations binds itself to a stubborn bass which propels What can be Done towards a wave of melody sculpted in the dreams of a nostalgic keyboard. It’s a title which inhales the good Psybient of Solar Fields. Great!

And we are not getting rid of this hold of the charms in this album with Particles (Part 1) that bangs inside us by an apathetic rhythm and its melodic arcs which quaver like the huge vibrating reflections that these giants' fingers produce by caressing the surface of a quiet lake. The rhythm, always very celestially slow, wears out its beatings which stay prisoners of this approach as melodic than sibylline. An approach which get transposes on the title-track and its frozen arpeggios. Arpeggios which little by little adopt the pace of an increasing tempo in order to make glitter a song illuminated on the restrained pulsations from a good down-tempo. After a Ghostwalking clearly slower than the E.P. version, Passing Places and Laterisers lead us in the more nocturnal, more abstruse and more ambient territories of EYES TO THE HEIGHT. A passage of ambiences which raise a little more the flavor of Particles (Part 2). A title that left as much its traces between my ears and to the edge of my soul than this ball of emotions that is Part 1. With its zestier and more lively structure of rhythm, although we do not break up the walls here, Copestone goes a little bit out of the paths of this last James Murray's mosaic of tones. It's a title which gets closer to the album Where Edges Meet, released in 2008 on Ultimae Records, with a more ethereal ambience, and especially more radiant, and where a thick cloud of lines, with harmonies full of contrasts and of restraints, is floating on a bed of pulsations of which the arrhythmic approach takes the shape of the hundred steps of a centipede agonising. You get the image? You have the tones!

We cannot stay insensible to the unique and always very stylized productions of the Ultimae Records label. If some works remain cabalistic, other ones attracts us straight away in this universe where the charms get multiply as our open-mindedness inflates our passion for the color of sounds and for rhythms always lasciviously attractive. It's exactly what we can expect here with this James Murray's very lyrical opus. And I have to admit that EYES TO THE HEIGHT has the same effect on me as when I was getting addicted to Solar Fields' Until we Meet the Sky. And that my friends, it's saying something. A monument in the Psybient genre!

Sylvain Lupari (December 16th, 2016) ****¼*

Available at Ultimae Records Bandcamp

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