Ghostwalk

James Murray

Ultimae Records, 2016

http://ultimae.bandcamp.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/19/2018

James Murray is an autodidactic British artist with a penchant for downtempo electronica and unorthodox ideas. Since 2004, he's been consistently releasing music that's always reflective and can be as varied as acoustic or techno. On this EP – a precursor to his much anticipated 2016 album my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Eyes To The Height – Murray aligns the artwork with the mood. Haunting and mysterious, this 12” EP is full of ambient, experimental, and intelligent dance music with lengthy, minimal, ominous sounds. Despite only being three tracks, this release offers well over 20 minutes of music that draws from countless influences.

“Ghostwalk” is seven minutes of soft, repetitive electronica with an eerie backdrop and tidy, crisp musicianship. Hypnotic and almost trance-like, it accomplishes much with a minimalist and cryptic approach.

“Ghostwalk (Kinosura Remix)” is a more blurry affair, unfolding in a dream-like sequence where flashes of synth interrupt the hazy atmosphere. Though the pace picks up near the end, sounding like a dance party on a distant planet, it remains calm, even futuristic.

The final version, “Ghostwalk (Martin Nonstatic Remix),” is a darker but no less dreamy tune, where post-punk influences give it a slight New Order feeling. Nonstatic, a Dutch artist known for utilizing hardware synth and drum computers, offers an extremely flourishing interpretation to end the listen.

Murray says this EP was penned as a 'love letter to ambient electronica' and it sure sounds like it. Though the versions executed by Martin Nonstatic and up-and-coming French outfit Kinosaura is distinctly their own, the kaleidoscope of melodies and emphasis on cascading, cautious instrumentation mirror the intimate, personal aspect to Murray's work. Though it would be a disservice to draw comparisons, it's safe to say that fans of Solar Fields, I Awake, or Carbon Based Lifeforms will enjoy Ghostwalk.

Rating: B+

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