4 June 2010
Ambient neo-classicist hero, Marsen Jules, made his North American debut at this year’s MUTEK festival in Montreal. Accompanied by twin brothers Anwar and Jan Phillip Alam on violin and piano, Jules had the large crowd enraptured as his emotive and glacial soundscapes swirled and pulsed in the airy Monument-National Theatre.
Marsen Jules is my favourite of all composers in the ever expanding genre of modern classical/ambient music. The opening track on Herbstlaub, “Fanes D’Automne” is the most played track on my iTunes, and his music has sailed me off to sweet dreams many a night, as well as, welcomed the dawn with me on many a morn. So you can imagine how stoked I was to finally experience his music in a live setting. And what a performance it was. Choice of venue had a lot to do with it, and the Monument-National was perfect, providing a large theatre space with phenomenal acoustics. The visuals by VJ Nicolai Konstatinovic were an excellent addition to the concert — showcasing abstract imagery in uber-vivid colour, as well as calming footage of hovering birds and a beautiful steady shot of a local swimming hole somewhere in what I imagined to be a small village in rural France.
It was great to see him do his thing live. Using his computer, a mixing tablet, two glasses of water, two drum cymbals, chimes, and the twin brothers on strings and keys, Jules was able to create a stirring live rendition of his work. Overall, his performance was the highlight of the festival for me, and further proof as to why I think he’s one of the best musicians in the genre.
Unfortunately, the rain stopped me from going to see him play at the Picnic Electronik under his dub-oriented krill.minima guise, but still a great time was had. Check out the remastered version of his first album Yara right now.