Marsen Jules Trio – Présence Acousmatique

Marsen Jules Trio

Only short after the minimalistic generative soundscape presented on The Endless Change of Colour“, Marsen Jules displays a completely different musical approach with this album by the Marsen Jules Trio.

As the …Trio indicates, this album presents Marsen Jules’ atmospheric soundscapes with the addition of two other musicians: twin brothers Anwar Alam (piano) and Jan-Philipp Alam (violin), with whom Marsen Jules played tours and festivals across the USA, Canada and Europe.

Présence Acousmatiqueis a stunning synergy of ambient, avant-garde, modern classical and introspective jazz music. It is released on Jules’ own Oktaf label, but stylistically it would have also fitted the ECM (new) series.

Présence Acousmatique is the Marsen Jules Trio‘s first full album release, but this was preceded by the short 4-track album Les Fleurs Variations in 2011, which presented the trio’s variations on Jules’ own Les Fleurs (2006, City Center Offices).
“Œillet Parfait / Œillet Sauvage”, the album’s opener, is a new variation of two of the tracks of the 2011 EP.

According to Wikipedia, Acousmatic Music is “a form of electroacoustic music that is specifically composed for loudspeaker presentation. It stems from a compositional tradition that dates back to the introduction of musique concrète in the late 1940s. Unlike scored music, compositions that are purely acousmatic exist solely as audio recordings (as fixed media) and are often intended for concert reception via multiple loudspeakers.”

There’s an interesting contradiction in the title with the fact that this Trio originated from playing live performances. Apart from the opener, all tracks have grown from the trio playing together. The tracks feel as if they are played live, which is not exactly an ‘acousmatic‘ approach?
If acousmatic music is music that is created to be reproduced through loudspeakers only, what could acousmatic presence be?
Interesting questions maybe, but also hardly relevant when listening to the music (which sounds perfectly though loudspeakers, as expected).

On two tracks, the trio’s intimate performance is accompanied Roger Döring (Dictaphone) on saxophone. His sound and style is somewhat comparable to Jan Garbarek‘s style, although Döring plays more restrained and avoids ‘Garbarekesque’ eruptions). On these tracks especially, the sound is also reminiscent of Bohren & Der Club of Gore.

But comparisions like this always fail.

The Marsen Jules Trio definitely has its own identity and sound, and Présence Acousmatique definitely guarantuees their place in the ambient/jazz/experimental/modern classical Hall of Fame!


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