Marsen Jules - Les Fleurs
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Marsen Jules
Les Fleurs

I was a huge fan of Marsen Jules' debut album Herbstlaub. Mixing orchestral swells with digital manipulation, it was a release that was dense and full of rich colors, inviting complete sonic immersion in a comfortable environment. Les Fleurs is his follow-up and while the sound sources are largely similar, the output is slightly different, with Jules creating tracks that are slightly more breathy and bright than his debut.

In talking about ambient music that's so fluid and open, it's sometimes hard to pinpoint small differences between two albums by the same artist (explaining in words the differences between the four parts of Basinski's Disintegration Loops, for example). That said, Les Fleurs seems much more focused on the sound of vibration itself. Plucked strings seem to be a center point of each track on the release, with subtle quivers and resonance playing big parts in the development of the album.

"La Digitale Pourpre" is a perfect example, as shaky notes from mandolin and harp intersect one another and expand into widescreen over hazy droning washes while "Datura" builds a couple plucked acoustic guitar notes into a heaving mass of sound, with spare strums ringing out into the distance as it progresses. "Coeur Saignant" is one of the best of the bunch, with lazy looping string swoops providing a cinematic backdrop while harp flourishes fill in the gaps. The closer of "Aeillet En Delta" is another standout, with watery vibraphone chords dropping into a deep dark pool and leaving wide silent spots between.

Having said the above, this second album from Jules just doesn't seem to have the emotional weight that his first album did. The eight tracks on the album run over fifty minutes, and by the time the album is about halfway through it seems to start recycle itself as highly repetitive pieces simply don't reveal and advance themselves as much as the seemingly more developed work on Herbstlaub. If you're a big ambo-head and need even more pleasant washes to soak in, this might be what you're looking for. Others will find it pleasant but ultimately a bit wallpaper-ish.

rating: 710
Aaron Coleman 2006-08-10 19:45:39