Boomkat Product Review:
Beautifully romantic, skilfully ecstatic side of vocal studies and purring techno from James Place on Mexico City’s trustworthy Umor Rex label - home to aces by Kara-Lis Coverdale, Felicia Atkinson, Driftmachine - ushering in a suite of light-footed and high-register works using sampled voice, live percussion and machine manipulations to refreshing, head thizzing effect.
James Place uses a combination of fine grained, tiered tones and precision, pointillist arrangement to wistfully yearning ends in Voices Bloom, snagging the ear with incredible levels of detail that really seem to suspend time and allow the listener to get right inside and inhabit the vaulted dimensions of his work.
Hailed as “a distillation of cultural memory through electronic process”, the album unfolds in seven parts, departing from a line in TS Eliot’s Four Quartets that reads “the moment in and out of time” to effectively divine its own temporality within ultra-wide, subtly modulated spatial settings connected by a red thread of melodic logic.
The voice of James Baldwin opens with the LP with his query, “do you have the courage to ask, will you be my brother?” which lends its title to the melancholic determination of Courage To Ask, striking a course of percussive intricacy and flyaway voices as seductive as any intro you could hope for. Therein Robin Weep follows, recalling Visionist’s pitched vocal cut-ups but applied to a nimble tech-house shuffle underlined with swooping subbass and primed for sylvan raves in the forest.
What follows is best described as a dream sequence of events, from the way the vocal blooms into full body from wispy tones in the airy step of Move In Blue, thru the phoenix-like choral burn of Rumor and Choir, into the vast, spare dimensions of Theatre where earth and sky become uncannily inverted, to the MDMA-kissed trance eye flutter of Echo You, and finally emerging at the gates of Vangelis’s secret garden with the awe-inspiring, landscaped beauty and windswept percussive minimalism of Wild Theme Unseen.
We don’t want to over-egg it, but yeh, you really need to check this one - it’s a proper pearl for summer 2017 and beyond.