Marsen Jules - Les Fleurs - City Centre Offices - CD
They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder and after a year of having to deal with no new music from Marsen Jules, I can see how that might be the case.
I'm simply in awe of this work and yet again Martin has produced an album of such consummate skill and beauty that to find any fault with it would be a massive challenge.
Simply put this is some of the finest ambient music around and you'll be hard-pushed to find anything that's this striking or this beautiful in the months to come.
Martin's blend of classical, organic and electronic music is marvellous and there's an easiness and flowing grace that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. From track to track we are treated to a divine collection of instrumental works that owe as much to composers like Satie as they to do to modern musicians such as Eno. The smallest snippet of sound is enough for Juhls to create nothing less than a symphony and it's this spare use of musical elements that, once again, stands out from the crowd.
Arrangements on all of the tracks are airy, light and remarkably mature sounding and his use of space as well as sound is the real key to the atmosphere he creates - for every note on most tracks there is a corresponding space in time that works in harmony with it. That said, there are lush textural tracks as well and they still have the power to recall Gas at his absolute finest. Swathes of sound drenched in reverb serve to hypnotise and entrance the listener and when combined with classical string swells it becomes an incredibly emotional and melancholy piece of work.
As ever with this style of music it's incredibly hard to break it down into its constituent parts as that would shatter the overall balance of the album. Instead I'll just mention 'Ceillet Sauvage' as being a particular standout track with its minimal use of marimba and vibraphone proving that less is most definitely more.
Once more, Martin Juhls has delivered a superb album and his success this year is assured. I know that this will be an album of the year for me for 2006, just as 'Herbstlaub' was for 2005. All we can do is hope that he continues this amazing run of stunning music.
Quite simply an incredible piece of work.