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Julian Julien - Strange CD (album) cover


Julian Julien


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.76 | 19 ratings

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3 stars Colours

I was really curious about his release. Julian's debut had sparked my imagination with its playful nature, and coming into this second one I think it's safe to say that I was expecting quite a bit.

Firstly, Julian is a brilliant composer, and here I am not talking about your everyday rock n' roll writer, nor fusion artist for that matter - no he is really a genuine musical persona. He seems to have hit a niche of his own, where eastern acoustic instruments co-exist with French accordions, violons and cellos. Now we've all heard music that takes its inspiration from that whole east meets west thing - in fact going way back to 66 you had The Paul Butterfield Blues Band issuing an album with the apt title of East-West, so we are certainly not reinventing the wheel here. Mind you, there is some wonderful experimentation going on here, that I have serious trouble describing without coming off as some kind of wine connoisseur. Maybe we're talking Indo-Raga chamber fusion here? I'm not that sure, but the way all of these stunning instruments from all over the globe melt together to form whatever playful dough - is quite simply a stroke of genius.

We've got djembes, violin, electric guitars, from time to time middle eastern lingering vocals, piano, accordion, electronic wizardry - such as the strange buzzing watery effects that creep up on some of the tracks. Lastly we get Sitar and tablas thrown into the mix, and swoosh we're off to Pakistan on some rather bizarre flying French wind sweeps.

My one gripe with Julian's debut was the lack of bottom in the sonic spectrum. In other words: I needed some bass! Well I'd like to say that this one boasts a lot more of this bottom dwelling musical beast, but that is not the case really. Yet I find this album to be much more round and wholesome. I think it's the samples and electronics that give off some kind of natural booming carpet underneath all of the other instruments. I'm not that sure actually, but the fact of the matter is still that Strange strikes me as a much more mature record. It flows very gracefully throughout its span time of 48 minutes.

Just as its predecessor this one also conjures up some wild and colourful motifs inside this Dane's increasingly confused head, and I find myself carried on soothing rhythmic notes to a land of smoke filled bazaars with Algerian French musicians and Indian DJs all jamming along to whatever comes natural to them at the time. The streets are sand coloured and narrow, so everybody are in the middle of everything - standing shoulder to shoulder beside yellow rocky bungalows that overflow with red, purple and bluish pieces of cloth bobbing wildly along to the airwaves and the beat. Everything is so close and intimate that you feel like the mad furious musicians playing music that reeks of spices and herbal tobacco, are sitting comfortably on your lap whilst greeting the morning rays of sun after a beautiful night of music and people. 3.5 stars.

Guldbamsen | 3/5 |


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