Remaining copies available at Norman Records
Romantic music can fall into saccharine, soppy, and sickly-sweet traps, but on 'Landscapes of Lovers', musician James Murray eschews and avoids these dangerous tropes, instead honing in on and finding the essence of love, and of what it means to love. Love is contagious, but a kiss is just one expression. Sometimes, tough love can be indicative of true love, even more so than an automatic reply of ‘I love you, too’.
Without a single Valentine’s card in sight, the romanticized ambient music sparkles and glimmers, the notes exploding like fireworks in the heart. A rush of blood to the head isn’t easy to pull off in the go-slow streets of ambient music, but Murray is and has always been sensitive in his work, balancing sentimentality and realism in what is obviously a highly personal subject, while still drawing the listener into the inescapable intoxication. Under the influence, the lambent-toned ambient woozily skirts around, coming together and then falling apart.
Millions of people have not only been burnt but scourged and scarred by the flames of love – people have been devoured by it, some have killed for it, and others have become thoroughly lost in the unrequited dead zone because of it - but Murray, while recognising the falling away and dying of many a love, doesn’t take the world-weary and sardonic views to heart: he’s a firm believer that love is to be found everywhere, that the heart can renew itself instead of clamming up after a painful episode of heartbreak, even amid a ruined world and its ongoing Nightmare on Earth Street. The coming together and parting are central themes, with both yin and yang orbiting a couple. The birth, the middle, the ending. Prettier than Jessica Rabbit, the two tracks are made for two people, culminating in forty minutes of music. You can feel the heart-wrenching tug of two lovers as they say goodbye, if only for a while, on closer ‘And So Goodbye (For Now)’, but the tones promise a later reunion, dampening sadness and emptiness with softer and optimistic swells. The music is also a memento, a photograph kept on the person at all times; a selfie in the phone’s gallery, or a locket of hair in a necklace. Landscapes of Lovers explores both zones: the sentimentality of separation as well as the more obvious moment of first sight and first touch.
When love hits, your feet leave the ground; likewise, Murray’s introverted notes can’t help but sing, bending the rules of gravity as they respond with tantalizing degrees of excitement and anticipation. The notes tingle as they circle in holding patterns and spirals of deepening infatuation. But love is more than a crush; love sees imperfection and embraces it. Up to a point, 'Landscapes of Lovers' is tempered with a measured geography, while Cupid’s arrow injects itself into the arm, pinching the skin with its needle-sharp arrow. The body is a landscape, its anatomy a secret geography. The music is enwrapped in the physical geography of a loved one, caught up in the ecstasy of elevation.
We are once again using beautiful deluxe GF Smith 540gsm 4-panel letter-press/blind debossed bitter chocolate covers with a Buckram emboss finish. The covers are different to previous releases and are 960mm x 630mm in size. The inner panels will hold a glass mastered CD on one side and a vintage OS map resting/stuck on the other. The design will also included antique glass slides (circa;1910-1940) and vintage photos (circa;1880-1940) all housed in wax bags (sealed/stitched).
Made by hand,
Printed on GF Smith 540gsm embossed buckram card
Glass mastered CD
1 x antique glass slide (circa;1910-1940)
1 x vintage Ordnance Survey map insert (circa;1890-1945)
1 x vintage photo (circa;1880-1940)
Housed in wax bags (Sealed/stitched)
Made with love...
Audio - James Murray
Design - Daniel Crossley
Mastering - James Plotkin