Ouroboros With Autographed CD Booklet
Grammy Award winner Ray LaMontagne is set to release his sixth studio album Ouroboros, produced by Ray and Jim James of My Morning Jacket.
Ouroboros, which allusively recounts not simply a journey but a personal odyssey as experienced from the inside out, is a wildly evocative work as atmospheric and changeable as a summer thunderstorm enveloping the countryside of Western Massachusetts, where LaMontagne lives with his wife and two young sons, far from the madding crowd. These details are relevant, because this is the introspective artist’s most deeply personal album, and that’s saying something, given the sustained degree of intimacy of his body of work.
Ouroboros opens with “Homecoming,” in which the protagonist is called upon to rouse himself from the tranquility of his surroundings and pull away from the place where he wants to be the most. It proceeds with the agitated inner dialogue of “Hey, No Pressure” (the designated single), the tension ratcheting up with the turbulent “Changing Man”/”While It Still Beats,” which climaxes with an electrifying extended instrumental section, taking the listener to the end of Part One of the tale.
Part Two, which opens with “In My Own Way,” as the weary traveler returns home (“Lock the door. / Draw the shade,” it begins. “Close my eyes. / I’m miles away.”) is a seamless reverie, awash in sensory detail, as he grounds himself and revels in the beauty of his surroundings in the company of those he loves most. “Spring is here, then spring is past,” he sings in a near-whisper. “The sounds of summer settle in, / A snake slips through the grass.” These intimations of the metaphysical in the natural world, echoing Blake and Wordsworth, Thoreau and Whitman, play out within the album’s thematic centerpiece, “Another Day.” It’s followed by the idyllic instrumental “A Murmuration of Starlings,” setting up the final section, an aural daydream that turns on the couplet, “When I’m with you / I am right where I belong,” and concludes, playfully yet resonantly, “You’re never gonna hear this song on the radio, but wouldn’t it make a lovely photograph?”
“I’m always trying to be in the here and now and center myself and realize the truth of existence,” LaMontagne reflects. “This is such a brief moment, and everything we know as human beings is constantly changing—living, dying, being born again. We’re just a blip, a moment. I’m not religious, but I believe we’re just part of some greater spiritual force. We’re so fortunate as human beings to be able to see it and try to express it. Whatever kind of art you’re making, whether you’re a painter or a dancer, a writer or a filmmaker, all of us are just trying to figure it out for just a second, and then…who knows?”
The artist contemplates the unknowable. And the world keeps spinning through space. And the circle is unbroken.
- Number of discs: 1
- Label: RCA
- Mono/Stereo: Stereo
- Catalog Number: 88875135422