James Murray – Floods Returned

The floods are returning. This time around, the dripping notes lean into an ambient summer, its rainfall splashed with faint hues of slow decay and rainbow-washed reverb. As the notes fall to the ground they bring both immediate relief and an absolute end to the land’s flirtation with drought. The notes sink into the very soil of the record, watering it with a shower of cold rain, and the soil drinks it up.

Despite returning with more of an ambient feel, Floods Returned captures the same mood as that of the original album. The versions are of course different, a kind of reincarnation via music, but the souls are essentially the same. Each one blossoms freely, opening outwards in a natural way, inclining towards a peaceful, sunlit sound. But there are darker skies on the horizon, and James Murray’s music is occasionally obscured by a troubled family of chrome clouds. The music is saying that it’s alright, it’s okay, when you’re in the midst of suffering and pain. Rain refreshes, but it can equally bring problems of its own. The music is steadfast and strong despite the apparently ethereal design of the soundscape; as strong as the steel of a spider web.

These songs are more than just outtakes or ideas which were never truly finalized or properly realized. In fact, their slow-burning souls lead into deeper valleys, inviting a deeper response to the introspection, and their stretched out tones delve into deeper areas of the heart. The ambient mood allows what was once grazed to be touched.

At the same time, Floods Returned is a reimagining of its past, a deep and permanent change occurring at the source of its river, but there’s never a feeling of the music succumbing to the depths of a remix; its essence hasn’t been diluted or tampered with. Mellow notes and serene atmospheres are the order of the day, but darker spells are imminent; like the weather in musical form. Sunlight creeps through the silver branches of air, piercing the layers of resilient cloud with an ocarina-bright tone. Along with a personal outpouring, something of the music’s gentle essence has been captured and laid bare. It’s like a photograph of the soul.

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