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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

MARSEN JULES: The Empire of Silence (2015)

There is a point in the horizon where the music can be cold as ice, this is where lies The Empire of Silence

1 Penstla 4:12

2 Tlaslo 5:31

3 Kayi 5:04

4 Skriniya 6:00

5 Katiyana 9:04

6 Naklin 6:01

7 Chahatlin 12:42

8 Ylaipi 6:17

9 Astrila (Bonus Track) 38:40

(CD/DDL 73:33) (V.F.)

(Dark ambient cosmic EM)

Considered by his peers like a master of abstract ambiospherical figures, Marsen Jules is a very active German musician/synthesist who counts about ten realizations in his sonic portfolio. Released on the experimental music label Oktaf, THE EMPIRE OF SILENCE proposes a heavy and very enveloping music where the German synthesist entails us in soundscapes as much intense as this cold which scrapes and which bites our ears throughout these acid breezes that Marsen Jules extirpates of his synths. Soundscapes of Antartique or Mars? The question needs to be asked because even if the artwork seems unequivocal, the Siberian blue which surrounds it turns into a dark cosmos in the middle of these immense thick clouds of breezes. Breezes which can come as much from the emptiness of the icy Earth spaces like those of a cosmos with territories as vast as black.

And that begins with an explosion of synth waves with tints as much sibylline as metallic which accost a hearing yet surprised by the sudden raid of Penstla. Even deprived of rhythm or of beatings, the movement is lively, fast and is inexorably hostile with a very aggressive thick cloud of synth lines which comes and goes continually. As quickly as a blink of the eye! More ambient, Tlaslo unwinds a slow and very meditative movement. It's like an astral waltz, here like in Kayi, where the synth lines float and crisscross themselves, showing their contrasts, both in tints and in forms, where the serenity is next to a kind of anxiety. And it's the fight of this album. Whatever it's dark or impregnated of serenity, the music flirts with both poles and the slow movements are knocked down by sudden eruptions of sharp-edged gusts which define the ambient territories.

Here, everything is coated with coldness. The frostiness of the soundscapes is reflected in the arcs of synth lines which squeal such as icy breezes. And this, even if they float like in Kayi. Skriniya is more serene and more meditative. It invites us to the best phase of THE EMPIRE OF SILENCE with a more linear movement where the slow waves float like bank of mist in cosmos. The orchestrations are slow and enveloping. I even had flashes of Tomita in Kosmos. From this point, the more we move forward and the more we tame this last album from Marsen Jules. Katiyana is a very cosmic piece of music and a very moving one. At some points I hear a very philharmonic Michael Stearns' M'Ocean wandering here and there around this structure. Naklin is more disturbing with an approach that commands more the attention than the meditation so much it's dense, even anxious. Chahatlin replaces the moods in a meditation and serenity mode, just like Ylaipi which pleads for a more ethereal approach while the long track in bonus, Astrila, is a long ambient ode which has nothing to envy at the monuments of silence which is the Immersion series from Steve Roach. For lovers of a dark, heavy and very intrusive ambient music.

Sylvain Lupari (April 12th, 2015) ***½**

Available at Marsen Jules Bandcamp

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