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ARTIST
TITLE
Les Fleurs
FORMAT
CD

LABEL
CATALOG #
CCO 034CD CCO 034CD
GENRE
RELEASE DATE
7/11/2006

This is Germany-based Marsen Jules' (Martin Juhls) second full-length release, after his highly-acclaimed 2005 debut, Herbstlaub. If Herbstlaub represented the sound of frost-shrouded autumn, then new album Les Fleurs sees Marsen Jules throwing open the windows and welcoming in the scent of spring. An intricately plotted series of ambient machinations, Herbstlaub was a record that delighted in technology without leaving the listener suffering from digital cold-shoulder -- exchanging the often austere environs of sample-based compositions for a piquant study of lush crate-digging. Opening through the beautiful chimes of "Oeillet Sauvage," Jules allows a diffused soundscape to slowly bloom -- enveloping the listener in a miasma of creamy vibraphone-bruised resonance that is neither overpowering nor sleight. Bolstered by the introduction of genuine instrumentation, Jules seems to have discovered a more outlandish side to his personality, with the thrumming percussion of "La Digitale Poupre" and sonorous bass of "Coquelicot" both exhibiting a more pronounced willingness to firm up the tacit reference points in his work. Whilst comparisons can be readily drawn with the likes of Harold Budd, Max Richter, Arvo Pärt and even William Basinski, Marsen Jules is nonetheless utterly unique -- mixing his evident love of skewed compositions with a real ear for melody. The aural equivalent of catching sight of something on a sunny day from the corner of your eye, Les Fleurs shreds its source material then scatters it to the wind -- creating a sound that is at once calming without becoming soporific, and exhilarating without veering towards the breathless. Jules demands a wider audience for his work and manages to introduce lashings of strings for "Coeur Saignant" and not call upon the clichéd notions of cheap orchestration or dreaded imaginary film soundtrack references. Jules closes the album with "Oeillet En Delta" wherein a honeyed breed of blunted ambience brings down the curtain in considerable style. If the summer is half as good as this musical spring, we're in for a scorcher.