JULIAN JULIEN — Terre II

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JULIAN JULIEN - Terre II cover
3.62 | 5 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2015

Tracklist

01. Prélude (2:55)
02. Terre II (3:31)
03. Iris I (1:38)
04. Ailleurs (4:34)
05. Iris II (1:55)
06. Iris III (2:48)
07. Une attente (4:18)
08. Iris IV (3:06)
09. Doudou (3:22)
10. Iris V (3:07)
11. Non-Sens (7:56)
12. Iris VI (1:14)
13. Mr John Barry (4:41)

Total time – 61:09

Line-up/Musicians

Hélène Argo – Vocals (7)
Guillaume Billaux – Guitar (11)
Siegfried Canto – Flute (1 & 4)
Médéric Collignon – Horn, Voice (6, 8, 11 & 13)
Rémi Dumoulin – Bass Clarinet (1 & 2)
Michaël Havard – Soprano, Tenor & Baritone Saxophone (2, 4 & 13)
Julian Julien – Percussion (4, 7, 11 & 13)
Adeline Lecce – Cello (2, 7, 10 & 11)

About this release

A Bout de Son

Thanks to snobb for the addition

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JULIAN JULIEN TERRE II reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

snobb
French composer/saxophonist Julian Julien third album's title "Terre II" means more time's mark than continuity with his debut "Terra" released 15 years ago. Originally a soundtrack to series of works of different photographers from all around the world,it obviously has strong cinematographic feel.

Surprisingly,Julian doesn't play sax but percussion here (programming is credited to him as well; there is guest sax player Michaël Havard participated in recording). All music is very liquid,combining white and dark ambient with chamber pop, some elements of electronics rock and jazz.

All elements are connected/mixed quite organically and in clever proportions - nothing dominates here and the music in whole flows free and quite logically.

As with any good soundtrack, music builds atmosphere that almost doesn't require visual line, sound itself is expressive enough to stimulate imagination. At the same time, as with many soundtracks internal development isn't all that clear without visual line, so generally the music starts nowhere and goes same way. Differently from myriads more ambient-based works around, presence of live musicians on recording adds enough lifelines to save it from boredom.

An interesting work for fans of soundtracks and possibly, exotica.
js
With so much self-produced and self-released music coming out these days, there has to be some serious flotsam and jetsam piling up out there, which is a shame because not all self-released projects are thrown together indulgences. A great example of someone who releases self-produced albums that contain painstaking craftsmanship and a high level of composition is Julian Julien and his latest opus, “Terre II”. Like Julian’s previous albums, “Terre II’ features an interesting mix of mini-soundtracks, instrumental exotica, chamber art-pop, nu jazz and that peculiar form of French art-rock known as zeuhl. The main difference with “Terre II”, when compared to his earlier albums, is there is more use of ambience this time around, with many tracks being more about floating textures rather than more specific melodies. Whether this is good or bad is just a matter of taste, but despite a slightly different musical direction, “Terre II” still features all the careful craftsmanship revealed on Julian’s previous albums. Also, Julian’s use of ambience does not get overly fluffy, as many an ambient moment is topped with expressive, sometimes atonal horn solos.

So many references come to mind when listening to Julian’s music, particularly those artists who know how to create a very personal atmosphere, for instance late 70s Brian Eno and Bo Hanson, Chico Hamilton’s 50s exotic chamber jazz, Brian Wilson and Les Baxter as well. Every song on here is like a miniature world to itself, but all the songs flow together to make an almost soundtrack effect. Some of the better cuts include title track “Terre II” with its jazzy sax solo, “Alleurs”, which features a lazy semi-classical melody orchestrated with flute and bass clarinet floating over an obstinate Celeste, and “Iris V”, which features buzzing synth drones and melodies over a driving hand percussion beat.

Members reviews

Modrigue
Jazz from planet Earth?

Looking for original, creative yet refined and accessible jazz? Classically trained composer JULIAN JULIEN's "Terre II" may well be your destination. Adopting a genuine cinematographic approach, this third self-produced album is composed of short soundtracks depicting professional photographs from all around the world. With a wide range of various influences, such as JOHN SURMAN, zheul, krautrock, ambient, Eastern, and even concrete music, these compositions are a true invitation to travel to different countries from Earth, but also to unknown worlds.

The reference to photography is also perceptible with the tracks named "Iris" (Iris are adjustable diaphragms in optical capture devices). Thought as interludes by the artist, these short pieces are more atmospheric than the other compositions, and are interesting for their highly crafted sound work.

This time, JULIAN JULIEN plays percussions instead of saxophone, as numerous guest musicians were invited to play on this opus. Mainly from the jazz universe, the palette of instruments used is quite large. However, the music do not resemble traditional jazz or fusion at all, but rather elegant, intriguing and sometimes enigmatic soundscapes.

The opener "Prelude" immediately sets the tone. A true prelude for a journey to an unidentified destination. A beautiful mesmerizing overture, with a bit of JOHN SURMAN and a slight middle-eastern touch. The title track is more melancholic and hopeful, as its combination of piano and saxophone works perfectly. Sounding typically French at the beginning, the location is always evolving, you don't know where you are anymore. Paris? New-York? This mixture of different cultures is very nice. Then arrives the first ambient experimental "Iris", which surprisingly changes the atmosphere. As it title may suggest, "Ailleurs" ("Elsewhere" in English) does well carry its name. An aerial flute piece, with a mystical ambiance and crystalline sonoroties. With elements that can remind concrete music, early TANGERINE DREAM or KLAUS SCHULZE, the mysterious "Iris II" is spacey and floating, showing the artistic research on sound work. Nonetheless, the "Iris" tracks are not all short ambient pieces. The echoing horns of "Iris III" is a cry into the depths of the universe, like an astronaut seeking help from the infinite void. Quite cosmic, this is my favorite "Iris".

On the contrary, as the only track with wordless vocals, I found the sad "Une attente" a bit lengthy. Back to spacey experimentations with "Iris IV" and its little dissonant trumpet. Maybe the only 'difficult' passage of the disc. "Doudou" possesses a genuine ethereal beauty. An unreal soundscape depicting several places from Earth. Magic! Concerning "Iris V", it combines exotica and ambient music in the vein of modern electronic bands such as AUTECHRE or PLAID. A little strange but still pleasant. The 8 minutes "Non-Sens" is the longest track of the record. With a style resembling JOHN SURMAN's, this melancholic composition is really good. The last "Iris" sounds like music made with glasses, displaying crystalline and enigmatic notes. The album concludes on a lighter tone with "Mr John Barry", showing also JULIAN JULIEN's inspiration from the cinema. This closer can be described as a jazzy and East-European "Peter Gunn", due to the presence of a cymbalum. A bit more conventional compared to the rest of the disc, but still pretty uncommon, refreshing and very cool.

"Terre II" is a true journey around and beyond our planet. From his numerous travels and influences around the world, JULIAN JULIEN has really created a musical universe on his own, made of melancholic, mystical, touching and spacey soundscapes. Hard to describe, but not to listen to, this music is innovative and refreshing, yet varied and accessible. This is no complex free jazz here, but rather jazz instruments played for other purposes, refined and elegant ambiances, depicting Earth and space. Highly recommended!

With the important sound work, JULIAN JULIEN's style is well suited to soundtracks. The artist already did some in the past, maybe he'll compose more and more soundtracks in the future, and maybe one day an artist will release a song named "Mr Julian Julien", who knows?

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