Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Music
cover art

James Murray

[Where Edges Meet]

(Ultimae; US: 16 Dec 2008; UK: 16 Dec 2008)

London’s James Murray is trying to do a difficult thing with his debut record. Even the masters of electronic music struggle with the making of truly compelling, progressive, ambient tracks. You have to remain simple enough to chill, but juicy enough to maintain direct interest. Often, you’ve got to craft sounds that are interesting enough to carry a track for six minutes or longer, without being distracting or monotonous.


To his credit, Murray is close to striking that balance. He is circling the airport, but hasn’t been given permission to land quite yet. The album simply lacks the character necessary to differentiate it from everything else, to relax without falling into boredom. Conversely, there’s nothing about it that really stands out negatively. “Gaijin” benefits from a steady, faster beat and a moment of squirrelly vocal tweaking, riding pads to a piano, tabla, and processed flute peak. I just can’t recall what the three tracks before it sound like. He shouldn’t be afraid to allow himself to venture outside of his comfort zone.

Rating:

Compelled to words by music since 2004, Ranta's words have appeared in such esteemed publications as Exclaim!, Tiny Mix Tapes, CBC Music, and PopMatters. He also regularly votes for the Polaris Music Prize, Village Voice Pazz & Jop, Juno Awards, and in all local, provincial, and federal elections. Based in East Vancouver, he's been known to a rave and/or rant, cat whisper, play basketball, pessimistically root for the Canucks, and read far too many comment sections. He graduated with distinction from SFU in 2012, with a bachelor's degree in music.


Media
discussion by

Comments
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.