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
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.