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Julian Julien - Terre CD (album) cover


Julian Julien


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.63 | 14 ratings

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3 stars Music from the playground

I loved the Fractalè album I was sent not too long ago, and while I didn't exactly expect the same sort of stuff with this release, I was still very surprised when I had my first listen. This is far more pensive and varied in scope, and still you can probably pick up Julian's somewhat unique way of approaching things. He is truly a guy to look out for in the coming years.

Like a schizophrenic person this album falls in and out of alternating tempers, styles and characters like the wind blows. You have cabaret music, docile and airy zeuhl that floats ever so gently on violin sweeps - ever changing ragadelic folk sprinklings to the more French tasting bandonéon lead ditties that practically scream Paris and La Vie en Rose. This album is about mixing it up - shaking it up, and then conjuring up whatever musical adventure seemed interesting at the time.

I've heard Terre whilst cycling to work - sitting on buses - looking at children playing - cooking up dinner, sitting down with it for a cosy one on one - French kissing tour de force, - and in the end it's the images of children playing that've stuck in my head. They match the music somehow. There's a certain playfulness to Terre that reminds me of jump-ropes, swings, playing football in the school yard, picking apples and building forts of sand. Maybe it has something to do with the many different styles on display here, but I think it is down to the main man's personality and maybe his many different inspirations. I hear just as much Keith Jarret in this outing as I hear endemic Chinese music. It's all bundled up under the same roof - cuddling and having a ball. It's music without any concern and it just wants to be played.

From the Aristocats' inspired piano grooves here that wander about like the coolest of alley cats - to the Indian rim-shot clay-pot finger ring conga drumming, the multiple extensions of this highly talented musician flow effortlessly from every corner of the world - seeping in and out of each other like second nature. I feel like I'm witnessing a vibrant fairground in the towering shadows of the Eiffel tower, sipping red wine and eating cheese - looking at children dressed up as mimes and Baltic dancers. It's surreal - just like this music, but it's fun and welcoming.

My only gripe with this album is the lack of dark, throbbing, sweaty, booming and belching bass textures. I miss the bottom end in the sound-spectre. Fractalè did this quite ingeniously with the tuba mimicking the hardy bombast of a woodwind bass instrument, but on Terre there is no real substitute for this earthy musical companion. I know the contrabass is featured here somewhere, but I honestly don't hear it that much. It is a shame, because I just about love everything else about this album. I work with kids on a daily basis, so why wouldn't I enjoy this rumbling, naive, playful and genre defying cabaret zeuhl album?

While this is very close to that 4th star - it stays on 3.5, but if you're into zeuhl, Keith Jarret, Aristocats, Soft Machine or even Art Zoyd - then you should do yourself a favour and get this highly infatuating album, that mimics children playing in see saws and forts - all through its notes and imagination.

Guldbamsen | 3/5 |


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