Genius composer James Hood (a.k.a. Moodswings) has the credentials of a musical saint: son of an investment banker in London and one of Queen Elizabeth’s ladies-in waiting, Hood was sent to the best lessons and boarded at the best schools. By the time he was in his mid twenties, he was happily playing with The Smiths, and later with The Pretenders as a drummer, and co-wrote the latter band’s Grammy-winning hit “I’ll Stand By You” with Chrissie Hynde. He left The Pretenders after his own first album, MoodFood blew up in 1992. The album had tracks adopted by America’s Most Wanted (for their theme song), Chanel (for their Allure perfume campaign), and the movie Single White Female.

Hood’s first work in over four years proves itself worth the wait. Horizontal, the follow up to 1996’s Psychedelicatessen, has the same deeply fleeting, gorgeously ambient, and ultimately lulling music, but the new release leans a little more in the drum direction. The first disc is the brain of the operation, including a l6-minute “Opium.” The second disc is essentially the first disc remixed. The instrumental “Into The Blue” is boosted by the vocal contributions of Julee Cruise, who also takes care of “Seems to Remind Me of Love,” and a modern day, rather amazing version of Debussy’s classic “Clare de Lune” that’s been designed for the pedal steel guitar. The very ethnic “Storm in a Teacup” drives the beauty home, and the double disc day at the beach ends perfectly. Chill out and celebrate your Moodswings. A beautifully insane masterpiece.

Water Music:

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