James Murray :: Loss (Eilean Rec.)

Perhaps there are six stages of grief and they differ dramatically depending on who has been stricken.

James Murray :: Loss

In his quest to capture the sound of loss, James Murray trapped certain keys on vintage synthesizers and treated them in real time, resulting in a suite consisting of “first takes only, no further editing.” Though “Fine” opens invitingly, breathing warmth and shedding light, it trails off as if the will to life of what it embraced had slowly drained out of it. At that point, Loss is given over to yearning. “Hold” is the first of five, wombal drones, describing an ebb and flow with the smooth sweeps of a cello on one of the most beautiful ten-minute stretches of minimalism you will hear.

It turns overcast on “Endure,” darkly so. We can hear shafts of sunlight attempting to penetrate the thick cloud from above, but they are kept in abeyance. “Forecast” has a strong Indian overtone (literally), whose arches reacquaint us with the more sanguine, though no less consequential, mood of “Fine.” There is even a streak of hope in the otherwise dirge-like “Certainty.” Less certain however is resolution, as the closing, title track elevates as much as it leaves us in a state of bemused dubiety.

Murray’s hour-long sextet is inscrutable as it is cohesive. Perhaps there are six stages of grief and they differ dramatically depending on who has been stricken.

Loss is available on Eilean Rec..

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