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+ Donato Wharton - Body Isolations
+ Svalastog - Woodwork
+ Tim Hecker - Harmony In Ultraviolet
+ Rosy Parlane - Jessamine
+ Jarvis Cocker - The Jarvis Cocker Record
+ Múm - Peel Session
+ Deloris - Ten Lives
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+ Badly Drawn Boy - Born In The U.K.
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+ The Blood Brothers - Young Machetes
+ The Places - Songs For Creeps
+ Camille - Le Fil
+ Wolf Eyes - Human Animal
+ Christina Carter - Electrice
+ The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
+ Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye
+ Various Artists - Musics In The Margin
+ Rafael Toral - Space
+ Bob Dylan - Modern Times
+ Excepter - Alternation
+ Chris Thile - How To Grow A Woman From The Ground
+ Brad Mehldau - Live in Japan
+ M Ward - Post-War
+ Various Artists - Touch 25
+ The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
+ The White Birch - Come Up For Air
+ Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
+ Coachwhips - Double Death
+ Various Artists - Tibetan And Bhutanese Instrumental And Folk Music, Volume 2
+ Giuseppe Ielasi - Giuseppe Ielasi
+ Cex - Actual Fucking
+ Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
+ Leafcutter John - The Forest And The Sea
+ Carla Bozulich - Evangelista
+ Barbara Morgenstern - The Grass Is Always Greener
+ Robin Guthrie - Continental
+ Peaches - Impeach My Bush
+ Oakley Hall - Second Guessing
+ Klee - Honeysuckle
+ The Court & Spark - Hearts
+ TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
+ Awesome Color - Awesome Color
+ Jenny Wilson - Love And Youth
+ Asobi Seksu - Citrus
+ Marsen Jules - Les Fleurs
+ The Moore Brothers - Murdered By The Moore Brothers
+ Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
+ The 1900s - Plume Delivery EP
+ Alejandro Escovedo - The Boxing Mirror
+ Function - The Secret Miracle Fountain
+ Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
+ Loscil - Plume
+ Boris - Pink
+ Deadboy And The Elephantmen - We Are Night Sky
+ Glissandro 70 - Glissandro 70
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #2)
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #1)
+ The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
+ The Glass Family - Sleep Inside This Wheel
+ Various Artists - Songs For Sixty Five Roses
+ The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
+ Motorpsycho - Black Hole/Blank Canvas
+ The Red Krayola - Introduction
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+ American Princes - Less And Less
+ Sondre Lerche And The Faces Down Quartet - Duper Sessions
+ Supersilent - 7
+ Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time
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44.1 kHz Archive

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Marsen Jules
Les Fleurs
City Centre Offices

Les Fleurs is the sound of joints growing stiff in snowy silence, of white water cascading in the dark of chestnut branches. Gossamer strings, curls of harp, and isolated vibraphone chords rise and fall in calm breaths on the opening piece, "Ceillet Savage." The precise intervals encourage an anticipation of the manner in which each new measure will arrive, yet the synthesized strings and digital rustles shadow the crisp bell tones well, subtly twisting the track's otherwise plain form into long, elegant streaks or finely diced hazes. As the composition recycles itself over some six minutes, efforts to catch hold of its simple assembly of chords just bring an amusing awareness of the dark space in which they appear to float suspended.

In fact, the remainder of the album similarly communes with this meditative stillness. "La Digitale Pourpre" sounds like the possible result of closing one's eyes and taking a long walk through a forest path. Harp notes ripple atop a rough ground of warm, thrumming analog electronics like water over a bed of rocks; every now and again a cluster of higher notes shoots up out of nowhere, like a fit of laughter from a previously unseen child.

In a sense, the compositions' cyclical nature, coupled with their reliance on discrete, gliding pitches, all but forces the listener to focus on these often-heard timbres. Much as sitting still in a forest for a long time brings the realization that the trees and birds are as odd as any fantastic creature, repetition lets Jules suggest that these tinkling chimes and shimmering vibes are just as peculiar as any atonal eruption.

It is the instant, though, and not the event, that Jules seems keen on capturing. Melodies recede as quickly as they flicker in, offering only fragments of a whole — to be sure, fragments brimming with overtones and harmonic color, but without more in the way of space to develop, the pieces sorely lack dramatic narrative, and are less engaging for it. While these songs evoke strangely alluring, dark, empty spaces, it's hard not to wonder where they might roam if Jules would but open the windows.

by Max Schaefer

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