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JULIAN JULIEN

Jazz Rock/Fusion • France


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Julian Julien biography
Julian Julien is the frontman and founder member of the instrumental jazzy-Zheul collective Fractale (free-form heavy-jazz improvs. One album has been published under this name and entitled Live Suranné, 2008)

Julian Julien started his composing works back in the early 90s. He first released an orchestrated live piece La tombe des lucioles (1993), then follows up on a soundtrack for the french documentary "Mémoire d'un maître chien". He finally auto-published his first complete album entitled Tupperware et Bibelot in between 1998 and 1999. in 2000 is published the album "Terre", then "Strange" (2006). The musical signature of these two official efforts oscillate between avant-garde-minimalism (mantric-like meditation) and psyched-out jazz. the musical direction sounds close to the world inflected jazz of Oregon, Codona, Brother Ah (...)the classical minimal epics of Jon Hassel, Ingram Marshall (with the add of punchy cosmic grooves) with a discreet reminiscence to Magma, Dün and a few others Zheul classics.

Groovy virtuoso featuring some astonishing folkish-ragadelic energies, an avalanche of variations and luminously orchestrated textures

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JULIAN JULIEN discography


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JULIAN JULIEN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.60 | 13 ratings
Terre
2000
3.76 | 19 ratings
Strange
2006
3.99 | 12 ratings
Terre II
2015

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JULIAN JULIEN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Terre II by JULIEN, JULIAN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.99 | 12 ratings

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Terre II
Julian Julien Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 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 neither typical jazz/rock/fusion, nor 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?

 Terre II by JULIEN, JULIAN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.99 | 12 ratings

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Terre II
Julian Julien Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I have to give Julian Julian a lot of credit for what he's created here. I reviewed his previous album which I thought was quite good but this one surpasses it on every level. Interesting that Julian has pretty much given up his sax here and focussed on the electronics, programming and percussion while bringing in people to play a variety of horns, cello, flute and more. Of course Julian is a master composer and I just love the direction he is going here with this project.

"Prelude" opens with bass clarinet in this solemn intro before flute and atmosphere take over. This is Classical sounding until the drums kick in. Lots of deep bass sounds here as the flute plays over top. I like it. It ends like it began. "Terre II" opens with bass clarinet but then it kicks into a full sound with drums, piano, horns and more. Such a pleasant sound. Sax before 2 minutes playing over top. Catchy stuff. Back to that original theme before 3 minutes. "Iris I" is the first of six "Iris" interludes if you will. Atmosphere and electronics in this dark piece.

"Ailleurs" starts with flute, atmosphere and intrcate sounds then the sax arrives before a minute. A melancholic piece. Percussion and some dissonance 2 1/2 minutes in. So much going on here. A bass horn before 4 minutes. I love the dissonant sax to end it. "Iris II" is eerie and haunting with so much atmosphere along with different sounds that come and go. The electronics increase late. So cool. "Iris III" opens with drones then we get some adventerous sounding sax, percussion and more. Such a great track.

"Une Attente" is the only vocal track as we get female vocal melodies only to start. Piano and percussion replace the vocals. Cello 1 1/2 minutes in. A slow moving tune but interesting. Vocal melodies are back replacing the cello. Vocals only late. "Iris IV" features some dissonant sax that will curl your hair(haha). Atmosphere provides a base for those awesome sax expressions. "Dou Dou" starts with samples then slow sax solos and deep atmosphere takes over. It picks up after 1 1/2 minutes with what sounds like vibes and percussion. That earlier soundscape joins in. Nice.

"Iris V" opens with what sounds like floating organ and more, almost spacey. Percussion and electronics 1 1/2 minutes in. Some interesting sounds here. "Non-Sens" is haunting to start that will continue for 3 minutes as different sounds come and go. Then we get a beat and rhythm as the sax plays over top. "Iris VI" sounds like vibes dripping on the soundscape. "Mr John Barry" opens with percussion and deep sounds as the organ joins in then some honking bass sax. Catchy stuff. A strummed instrument arrives after a minute replacing the sax briefly. More honking sax as another sax plays over top. That strummed instrument joins in after 3 minutes. Dissonant sax late.

A very adventerous work that really suits my tastes. A solid 4 stars.

 Terre II by JULIEN, JULIAN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.99 | 12 ratings

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Terre II
Julian Julien Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars I have been very lucky to be in contact with musicians such as French mastermind Julian Julien, whose solo career began at the very beginning of this 21st century with the album Terre, and now, after 15 years he released the second part of this work, an eclectic album which shares a really interesting mixture of jazz, rock, classical, ambient and avant-garde music. Terre II will take you to a wonderful journey in which several musicians join forces, led by the equanimity of Julien, who used to play saxophone but in this album he playes percussion. This is not the ordinary progressive rock album at all, this is something quite different, exquisite, fresh and full of quality.

The album features 13 tracks and a total time of 45 minutes; most of them are short, from 1 to 4 minutes, and there is only one longer track which almost reaches 8 minutes. It opens with "Prelude", a nice 3-minute track that begins softly but later it turns darker, delicious, atmospheric and later even spacey. It is better if you listen to it with good headphones, by the way. "Terre II" has a nice mixture of classical music and delicious jazz, the use of strings, winds and percussion produce a wonderful balance that make the music easier to enjoy. They all complement each other and offer sublime passages that let our minds fly. "Iris I" is a short track, it is like an interlude, minimal, relaxing.

"Ailleurs" is a wonderful track. Saxophone, flute and percussion creating peaceful but vibrant moments, it is a blend of jazz, electronic and even the soft side of zeuhl. It is a dreamy track that one can enjoy with the eyes closed and imagine a lot of things. Their music share stories, and we as listeners modify them. "Iris II" just like the first one, is a short and atmospheric interlude, this time the sound is darker. "Iris III" is a bit longer and trippy, a wonderful saxophone appears over some electronic soundscapes, creating once again atmospheres that make us dream and have an inner-trip. This could be a track taken from Vangelis' Heaven and Hell.

"Une attente" is the only track that features vocals, this time a female one. There are no lyrics, but that voice creating nuances while percussion and strings produce some dark and desolated atmospheres. This is mainly a depressive track (at least to me), but beautiful and full of hope at the same time. "Iris IV" is a kind of noisy and dissonant piece at first, later when the sax is cleaner it makes me travel more to jazzy and experimental states of mind. "Doudou" reminds me of Gabriel's Passion, which also means its sound could perfectly fit in a film. After one minute and a half it changes a little bit, I imagine someone walking and having a life's retrospective, with inherent melancholy and even sadness, but with the hope of a brighter future.

"Iris V" has a soft electronic feel and spacey synths, it is a tasty song actually. It leads to "Non-sens" which is that longest track I mentioned earlier in this review. It starts slow, it could be even part of an Oren Ambarchi's drone track. There is a dark feeling on it in the first three minutes. And later it changes and a totally new sound is being built up. Later percussion and trumpet make some kind of jazz and new age, taking us to a passage through mid- east territories. The music is seductive, it naturally flows and I believe any listener would be able to listen to it, no matter their tastes, this is simply exquisite. "Iris VI" is the final part of these kind of interludes, and it is nice as well. And finally, Terre II ends with "Mr. John Barry" and as you can imagine judging by the title, this track is inspired and I assume is a tribute to that wonderful English composer of soundtracks. Actually, the mood and the sound of this track could be easily used as a film track, conducted by Barry and performed by Julien's band. Great way to finish the album!

Congratulations to Julian Julien and the band, you have created a wonderful album without a doubt!

 Terre II by JULIEN, JULIAN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.99 | 12 ratings

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Terre II
Julian Julien Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Talk about originality, French Jazz saxophonist and composer Julian Julien travels in a peculiar realm, an avant-garde fusion form that is both urban and modern on one side and very traditional and exotic on the other. I had reviewed with great delectation his previous album 'Strange', released in 2006 which also contained this wonderfully interesting dichotomy. His debut album was entitled 'Terre' (1980), and this is the second chapter. Being a resident of Paris, Julian grasps hauntingly the particular vibe that makes today's Paris very different than the one I saw first back in 1966, to say the least! The French capital is a towering melting pot of various cultures in close proximity, a sprinkling of Africa (Mali, Niger, Senegal, Guinea, Cameroun, etc'.), a large dose of Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia) , plus some additional Polynesian, Caribbean and Asian influences . France once had a colonial empire that spanned the globe and has representation in every Parisian neighbourhood. Add some Jewish, Portuguese, Polish, Romanian and Russian contingents, and you get the idea! When I listen to both Strange and Terre II, my immediate feeling is one of almost documentary-like soundtrack of a megalopolis' day in the life.

'Prelude' is tremendous first stop, a vibrant piece that defies description, highly cinematographic, swirling sonic motifs that are brass-led, allied to some percussive rhythm, and a strange resonating keyboard sound. Eerie and moody, great introduction/introspection. The title track has a shimmering quality due to the string work, with both cello and violin supplying the angst, the piano taking the lead and the sultry clarinet finishing the deal. Fabuleux!

The first 'Iris' interlude kicks in (there will be six in all spread throughout the album, at regular intervals) and sets the table for the flute-fueled 'Ailleurs', which will set a particular vibe of complexity within a sensible framework, both dense and lightly daubed, crystalline effects that induce a strong jazzy feel, snippets of synth, blotches of trumpet, percussion islands that certainly induce mind travel.

'Iris II' and 'Iris III', combine to further the electronic cause, almost industrial space with odd noises and echoes, pinging and ponging in a slow, deliberate fashion. The soundtrack to an urban jungle, colliding and contrasting incessantly, the nighttime sax tending to scream out some moody frustration. The horn in particular takes the front stage, near the curb where the jaded mademoiselle looks on , somewhat indifferent to her waiting 'copain' .

As expected, 'Une Attente' delivers more outlandish sounds, where riveting piano, distant echoed beats, voice effects amid the mournful cello settle the impatience, with a 'chanson fran'aise' vocal from H'l'ne Argo that completely unzips the naked French genre of romantic yet somewhat schizoid music. 'Lingerie et un p'tit coup de rouge' (lipstick and red wine), she seems to think out loud.

The very 'avant' 'Iris IV' is almost painful, the insane sax blaring like some elephant gone amok, screeching, irate and out of control. I thought of Adrian Belew on electric guitar for a second' definitely pushing the envelope. The exuberant and urban 'Doudou' has a definite African vibe (a common nickname in French Africa) that suddenly becomes very sociable, as if Mike Oldfield was in the studio, visiting. Warm, sunny, smooth and obscure.

Another 'Iris' interval (V) maintains the electronic feel, with resonating backroom distortion, as if some noise was emanating from the neighbour's flat, shuffled along by some explicit synth and percussion work. This prepares the longest piece here, the 7 minute + 'Non-Sens', a no nonsense (tres drole) composition that sets a typical synthesized mood and sticks to it for a good while before it morphs into something totally else. Cyclical beats, broad string swaths, and a superb horn solo that gets really emotive and profound. A delight!

The final 'Iris (VI)' only serves to set up the brilliant finale, dedicated to the legendary John Barry, film composer of international fame and reputation. Entitled 'Mr.John Barry', the music meanders like a final musical credit roll that is extremely evocative of some Parisian scene, perhaps Place de la Concorde, or the Palais de Chaillot, or maybe some of those magical Paris staircases that abound Montmartre.

This is in fact perfect nocturnal music, ideal to chill out after a long day, tired from both work and the after dinner escapade that finally brought you home. The sounds are never overtly aggressive or harsh but always unexpectedly created and alive. Very real, very social, very Paris. While this is neither mainstream or niche, Julian Julien makes quite a statement with this amazing release, in a genre that really needs something beyond the usual fusion technical display.

This review is also dedicated to my French cousin, who sadly had to witness the police raid in St-Denis on November 18, 2015 that ended with 5000 bullets being shot. He heard every one of them, poor man. Not exactly music.

4.5 earthy globes

 Terre II by JULIEN, JULIAN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.99 | 12 ratings

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Terre II
Julian Julien Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars Julian Julien is one of those artists able to fill their music with "feelings". This sequel to Terre is classified as jazz- rock, but it gives me the same sensations that comes from listening to Claude Debussy. The "Prologue" sets up the mood which may appear dark, initially, but it's dreamy and ethereal, like fixing a fire and fell hypnotized. If so, "Terre II" is like waking up in a different land. I imagine the landscape of the cover picture. The Bass clarinet riff is remarkable.

The tracks from Iris I to Iris VI are defined as "interludes" by the composer, but to me they are more than this. I can hear a Floydian influence, too. "Ailleurs" Reminded me a bit to Lucia Hwong's "Secret Luminescence" for the mood and the instruments, but instead of the Asian landscapes I think to the last stanza of Rimbaud's "Le Bateau Ivre", the dark and cold water of a puddle in Europe.

Another Iris then comes. It's excellent with its sort of heartbeat and the noise in crescendo. Then Iris III. Why are they called interludes (by the artist himself)? They are well developed tracks, surely there's more happening in the couple of minutes that every of them takes, than in many "electronic epics".

"Un Attente" is explained by the author as a person, man or woman, waiting for the answer of a girlfriend or a boyfriend. The obsessive percussion on which piano and cello build the melody give the idea. This is the first track with vocals, intended as "dumb singing". Slow and sad, it makes me think, with the obvious differences, to The Snow Goose. The vocal armonies are intriguing.

Another interlude: Iris IV. Not just an interlude for me. The screaming sax gives life to an excellent jazz piece.

The composer says "Doudou" is about Childhood's End. The sadness of living something behind, maybe... The sound of bells reminds to a musical box. Itěs like an alternance of looking backward and forward. Honestly I wouldn't be able to interpret the music in this sense without Julian's suggestions.

Iris V lightens the mood opening the way to the excellent "Non-Sens". Julian Julien says that he's got the inspiration from a picture of graffiti on a wall. Nowhere to go, no way out, and a thought to the Greek people in their deep echonomical crisis. With this subject I would have expected a track full of haste. Instead, the music is introspective and dark. I hear similarities with some parts of Vangelis "Heaven and Hell" but the dreamy atmoshphere brings Debussy again to my mind. The trumpet here deserves a mention. Really a great track.

The last Iris, the 6th, made of bells like Balinese music, then the final: "John Barry". I think it's the composer of the famous James Bond's themeother than a huge number of sountracks for cinema and TV. The kind of sounds used seems to confirm it. A hommage to the composer, nothing like Bond, anyway.

This is "compact" album. It can be enjoyed like a single suite even if all the tracks retain their individuality. Arrangement and production are excellent and if one is in the right mood, it can be perfect: I'm lazying in a dark December afternoon what can be better than this?

4 fully deserved PA stars and one of the best things I've listened to in 2015.

 Terre II by JULIEN, JULIAN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.99 | 12 ratings

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Terre II
Julian Julien Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Jazz from Zheul!

Julian Julien's, 2015, "Terre II" displays entirely why do the modern Jazz/Rock/Fusion styling was included in a Progressive Rock page like this one.

From the very beginning to its last seconds this release projects musicianship of a higher level. Its compositions are friendly (prog like friendly, of course) but not by condescending their musical idiom, opposite to that they do so by being daring, deep, focused, experimental and joyful altogether.

The minimum use of "allowed cliches" to sound modern or prog is quiet welcomed. Its richness in instrumentation provides a refreshing start for each composition to detach itself from its predecessor, as they also construct different musical directions, sometimes Big Brass Band like, sometimes Prog/electronic like environments , others Post-Jazz tainted, others Zheul darker and mysterious or some Rock in Opposition like constructed and other subtle and non-stop pleasurable surprises.

A breeze of healthy new air that trascends its "taggins" by being original in its musical language and that my friend, in this world, is pure-gold.

****4.5 PA stars.

Do not deprive yourself from this earthly pleasure!

 Terre II by JULIEN, JULIAN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.99 | 12 ratings

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Terre II
Julian Julien Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by zravkapt
Special Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

4 stars A follow up to the 2000 album Terre, this is the latest album from French composer/musician Julian Julien. Some may know him for his work in the project Fractale. Julian studied classical music and has been playing the saxophone since he was nine. This album is meant to be experienced along with photography provided for the album. This isn't bubblegum pop - this is real art. Here Julian himself does not play sax but leaves that duty to Michael Havard, playing percussion and electronics himself (as well as composing the music itself). Almost completely instrumental (with the exception of one track with vocalist Helene Argo), the music itself can be described as a mix of jazz, classical, electronic, ambient, chamber rock and avant-garde. Looking at reviews of this release, one will see references to: artists on the ECM label, Tangerine Dream, Art Zoyd, Weather Report, Brian Eno, Tortoise, Keith Jarrett and John Barry. The first half of Terre II is more jazz and classical oriented while the second half is more electronic and avant-garde. The instrumentation is varied and features a lot of wind and string instruments.

"Prelude" is a nice opener. A mix of jazz, classical and ambient. The title track is more trad jazz that has a 'rock' feel although there is no electric instruments. "Ailleurs" is an interesting mix of jazz and ambient electronic. The way it develops it almost turns into acoustic Berlin School. There are six tracks spread throughout the album with the name "Iris" and all are short and electronic-oriented. Part V stands out to me because I am reminded of IDM groups like Autechre and Boards Of Canada. "Une attente" has the aforementioned female vocals. A capella at first but later joined by percussion, bass and piano. Other instruments join in and vocals are multi-tracked to create harmony. "Doudou" has a MidEast feel to it. Halfway a repeated electronic melody which could have come from a Tangerine Dream or Mike Oldfield album dominates. "Non-sens" is the longest track and one of the highlights. Starts out sounding like Tangerine Dream or Klaus Schulze. After 3 minutes trumpet comes along and the rest of the music is more rhythmic.

"Mr. John Barry" is the album closer and yet another highlight. Named after and influenced by the late film composer of the same name. This sounds similar to some of the stuff Julian was doing with Fractale. Great melodies over a solid rhythmic foundation. Great sax solo as well. Overall a really good release. Terre II has a nice flow to it and is sequenced in a way beneficial to the music itself. A mix of shorter and longer tracks which go by flawlessly. A great production as the music sounds great. If you are a fan of any of the artists I mentioned at the beginning of this review, then there is a possibility you may enjoy this release. However, the music here is not derivative and can't really be compared to the work of others (in full, only in parts). Terre II is a digital release that can be purchased from Julian's site at www.julianjulien.com. I will give this release 4 stars.

 Terre II by JULIEN, JULIAN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.99 | 12 ratings

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Terre II
Julian Julien Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Originally written for www.jazzmusicarchives.com

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.

 Terre II by JULIEN, JULIAN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.99 | 12 ratings

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Terre II
Julian Julien Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by philippe
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars It took many years but our fellow avid listener / composer of refined prog jazz inflected soundscapes Julian Julien is back with a new release, this time produced in digital format. During a breaking time from his solo musical adventures Julian formed the 'Cosmicadelic' jazzy collective / neo prog live band Fractal and published an album entitled 'Surann'. He also illustrates himself in the writing of a handful of classical scores for short movies of various genres (drama, thriller'). 'Terre' I was a solid exploration into orchestrated, melodiously and delicious groovy jazz rockin hymns with touches of micro-tonalism (classic minimalist / pattern music) and original, discreet Eastern elements. This new album is a more frantic orientation into free-jazz jam components with a vigorous inclination for music for films and short-form ambient impressionist-like music. The 'Iris' serie almost includes hypnotically seductive grooves with a discreet kraut-rockin flavor. For my ears the experimental-Electronic based textures are more obvious than on Julian's past releases and certainly that the softly cinematic touch has something to do with his recent compositional works for films. The general music tendency is warm, dynamic and eloquent and the typical progressive rock sound is well exposed in the use of arrangements, epic instrumental side and soloing improvs. The album includes a bunch of interesting guest musicians active in the jazz musical spectrum but not only. 'Terre II' is a beautiful and inspiring release, recommended for fans of Codona, Collin Walcott, Steve Tibbets (for the multi-dimensional jazzy prog side), Cluster and Harmonia (for the krautrockin echoes), Wim Wertens and Michael Nyman (for the contemporary classic music side), Krzysztof Komeda (among others) for the cinematic approach. An eclectic ambient jazz - prog rockin album and a pretty good companion to 'Terre I' as well.
 Strange by JULIEN, JULIAN album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.76 | 19 ratings

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Strange
Julian Julien Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by philippe
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Julian Julien is an eclectic-multifaceted jazzy rock musician whose career began in the early 90s with the publication of La tombe des lucioles and with soundtracky recording experiences. He released a few solo albums before to form the collective Fractal. These albums that range stylistically from progressive rockin standards (Zheul / RIO / Kosmische music) to soulful jazz (with eastern inflected tendencies) have been published during the last decade. As a musical writer Julian julien develops a radical aptitude for an unique combination of styles, marvelously creative and always surfing on the challenging side of music. Strange is the second offering after the release of the raga-ish-world jazzy outfit entitled Terre (2000). Published in 2006, Strange reveals Julian Julien's qualities as an instrumentalist but also his interest for experimental soundscaping composition. We can notice a particular approach to music which favors film scores and a cinematic sound aesthetism. The world inflected flavor we can hear on Terre is less substantial despite the presence of some relevant exotic-percussive improvised sound textures. The album captures the attention on soloing progressive rockin excursions, largely improvised and based on a strong repetitive rhythmical section. The improvised parts are always groovy, epic, hypnotically melodious. The inter-musical exchanges remind me the vigourously avant-gardist "krauty" dimension of Et-Cetera, Drum Circus (...) and the "landscape music" side of Alice Coltran. Expansive, quietly psychedelic, charmingly meditative with some compelling moments and great dynamics, Strange is beyond any classification and remains warmly recommended for the prog-leading audience.
Thanks to Philippe Blache for the artist addition.

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