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V I C I M * Jules * Endurance

Vicim

Vicim

V I C I M – CONVENIENCE Also on Spotify

Linus Schrab, from Sweden, one half of the duo Thet Liturgiske Owäsendet, is V I C I M (spaces intended).
Following up a split EP with Forest Management in 2017 this is the first full album under this alias.

The (six) tracks on this album ‘are reflections of days spent away from family, friends and everyday life’. Welcome moments of retreat and reflection, and that is precisely what the music breathes too. At least: in the beginning.
The mood is set from the very beginning with the opening track Untitled Universe (with a vocal sample of Phil ‘Mt. Eerie’ Elverum). But as the album progresses, there are darker moments too (Call For Gold,  Detour). The closing track 33 33 – the first with a distinct rhythm – feels optimistic and satisfied: time to end the seclusion and return to family, friends and everyday life.


Jules_AEJULES – ADVENTURES & EXPLORATIONS (Volume 1) Also on Spotify

It’s no use to ask who is behind this Jules alias because this is a ‘new anonymous project’, where the Jules concerned is a fictional character, “a mysterious and fantastic author, called Jules, who will propose to the listeners a dreaming atmosphere and persona far from reality, living in exotic and non-existent spatiotemporal dimensions.”

The storytelling comes with explanatory titles to guide your imagination: “Paris, 1870. My First Trip In A Hot Air Balloon” (referring to the use of balloons as ‘air mail’ to communicate from within a besieged Paris), and “Stories Of Long Journeys In Indochina”.

This is Volume 1 of the series, so expect more follow-ups to come in the future (which may be in different styles, however).
Perhaps this explains the somewhat enigmatic remark that “Jules decided to leave the product slightly dirty and unfinished.” Why would serious composer want to do so?
The only reason I can think of is that he (or she) was prematurely tempted to embark on a new adventure… To be continued…


Endurance

ENDURANCE – SHADE TERRARIUM  Also on Spotify

I didn’t really know what to expect from “Music for imaginary persons”, composed with “self-motivational tape loops” (plus field recordings, effects,  DSI Tetra and OP-1).
But that doesn’t matter: the music on Shade Terrarium is self-explanatory enough.

Endurance is Joshua Stefane from Ontario, Canada, but now living in Nara, Japan. A busy, and obviously inspired man, because besides being a bioethics researcher and translator he also writes science-fiction and still finds the time to compose music. Quite a lot too: he has released 17 albums since 2016, four in 2018 alone! But quantity is not what it’s about, of course.

Shade Terrarium is a ‘classic’ ambient album in the sense that there is nothing really ‘new’ about it, but is does exactly what it needs to do: create a relaxed atmosphere – maybe comparable with a Japanese garden.
I would personally avoid terms like ‘spiritual’ or ‘devotional’ to describe this music – too much new-age associations – but those are just words you can ignore.
This music nicely does the job yóu want it to do… and who knows what added effect the (subliminally) added ‘self -motivational tape loops’ may have!

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Marsen Jules – The Endless Change of Colour

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Marsen Jules is probably the best known alias of Martin Juhls from Dortmund, Germany, also operating as Falter, Krill.Minima (don’t forget to check the recent Sekundenschlaf“), or the marvelously named Wildach Sonnerkraut.
His different aliases allow him to experiment and expand in different directions. The previous (six) releases as Marsen Jules each feature somewhat different instrumentation but all share Juhls’ personal trademark of intricate sounddesign.

Most tracks on the previous Marsen Jules albums are somewhere around the 4 – 6 minute length each.
But his latest albumThe Endless Change of Colour (released on 12k) is different in this respect: it only features one single uninterrupted track.

The Endless Change of Colour is a perfectly fitting title for this generative composition, created by the kind of systematic rules known from the generative ambient works of Brian Eno.

The sounds are created from a “single phrase of an old jazz record split into three audio streams. These streams are transformed into loops which break the original instrumentation down into sound resembling pure waves, harmonics and overtones. These loops play to different time signatures to create phasing patterns that continuously move and dance around each other in a constantly-evolving lattice of sound. Despite it being based on a very strict and limited set of rules the music could, in theory, be endless and ever-changing”.

“A celebration of both the system and the unexpected” – indeed!

The concept of creating endlessly changing music, and the reference to Brian Eno’s work may be an indication of what you may expect, but on the other hand the sound spectrum presented is clearly that of Marsen Jules himself.

Reading about the ‘single phrase of an old jazz-record’ you’d probably expect some of the pops, crackles, clicks and ticks that are so very popular in contemporary electronic music.
But, avoiding the obvious, Juhls created a sound that is completely clear, without any distortion.
A sound that feels like a comfortable, uninterrupted dream.

“Electronic tones hum with warmth and the softness of slumber. The patterns are there, familiar to our modern ears, but they’re not always what they seem.”


MARSEN JULES – THE ENDLESS CHANGE OF COLOURS (Excerpt)

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Marsen Jules – Yara (Remastered)

yara

Marsen Jules’ (Martin Juhls, from Dortmund, Germany) “Yara” was originally released on Autoplate in 2004.
The (six) tracks were only available as MP3 downloads (in 192 kbps only!). And unfortunately disappeared completely in 2006 (together with the tracks from the preceding MP3 album “Lazy Sunday Funerals“) .
Marsen Jules continued to release more beautiful music on the City Centre Offices label, such as 2005’s Herbstlaub.

Lucky for us, the Oktaf label decided to re-releases both lost albums. They are now available as a physical CD as well as digital downloads (with better bitrates). The tracks are fully remastered and the Yara CD also contains two additional tracks: ‘Harfenklang’ (Harp Sounds) and the 15 minute long ‘Yara Variation‘.

Even after six years, the album is still as fresh as the flowers on the beautiful new cover (designed by Noah McDonald).

Yara’s tracks are created from of fragments of a live recording of a band of friends. From this, Marsen Jules  mainly used the background noises of this recording, the environmental sounds of the concert, rather than the recording of the gig itself: the tuning of an instrument, the opening of a beercan, someone laughing in the audience.
These fragments were reordered, re-assembled and looped, to create an original and very elegant kind of ambient ‘musique-concrete‘.
A unique process with a unique result.

We’re lucky to have Oktaf saving these recordings from oblivion, as they did with Jules’ first release!
Let’s hope more like this is to follow.

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