Music Review//Jim James - Regions of Light and Sound of God

One of the first treats of 2013 we received was Jim James' eloquently titled Regions of Light and Sound of God. With our ears pricked we listened intently...

When an album has a title like Regions of Light and Sound of God you get an image in your mind. The drum roll that opens this beautifully desert mirage like album on opener 'State of the Art (A.E.I.O U)' seems to open a door to a gallery of dreamscapes set to brooding piano led melodies and subtly funky undertones. The aforementioned opener is a slow burning treat, that looks skyward to heaven and invokes the unspecified 'state of the art technology'. As an opener it's a good one and it segues into the even more state of the art I Didn't Know Til Now. The programming and rhythms are used to create a more obviously beat fueled yet melodious song that is one of those rare songs that can pull you in on the strength of a chord.

The artist says that the album was inspired by walks of inspiration and the pace of the record certainly verifies this. There are sudden divergences into jazz solos and Electronica and that's what makes the album such a joy to listen to. It's a record that hits you in the soul rather than in the face and the multi-layered songs go a long way towards that. But on the other end of the scale there's the more simple, comparatively restrained 'A New Life' and 'Exploding' but it's a mere diversion of sound for the experimental production returns for the last half of the album.

Highlights include the lushly orchestrated Actress, making a dramatic vibe of it's own.  'All is Forgiven' in particular takes the jazz side roads form the earlier tracks and puts a divinely non church like Middle Eastern sound to the seeking of forgiveness. Delightfully left field, and almost reminiscent of the funk with spirituality themes of Meshell Ndegeocello. The album closes with the ethereal God's Love To Deliver, a slow building, religious pomp and circumstance like production that merges the themes of the album together. 

It's arguable that overtly religious records can put the listener off but the sheer joy and warmth of it's gorgeous production makes it a very worthy listen.

Reviewed by Sebastian Gahan. Released on V2 4th February 2013. 

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