Music Reviews

Artist: Marsen Jules (@)
Title: The Empire Of Silence
Format: CD
Label: Oktaf (@)
Rated: *****
When I asked to a friend of mine about the most impressive aspect of his adventurous travelling over Greenland for a couple of months, he ecstatically replied by one simple word: silence. He explained that even a monk in his hermitage wouldn't have a real idea about how "silence sounds", but the most interesting aspect of his report is the one where he tried to explain that this aural perception could let perceive the real sound of his own soul. I don't know if Berlin-based composer Marsen Jules fed this release by similar report or experiences, but the listening of "The Empire Of Silence" got me thinking about those fascinating account, which has nothing to share with other notorious "definitions" of silence in modern music history. The name of Marsen Jules has been matched by most reviewers to the label of "modern classics" due to the strong connection of his declension of ambient music to the classical concept of symphony, but this release is the proof he's getting deeper and deeper in the quintessence of his own sound, where the main points in common between "The Empire Of Silence" and some past stuff by this brilliant composer are an overzealous approach to sound forging and a fully immersive ethereal halo. The eight tracks of this album got named after a selection of eight words to say "snow" in Inuit language, whose dictionary has hundreds of different ways to refer to "snow" (definitively more than the 50 words for snow by Kate Bush....): "penstla" (meaning the idea of snow in Inuit language) and "tlaslo" (referring to snow that falls slowly), the first two snowfalls that bank up against listener's eardrum, whiten the sonic space by somehow melancholic tunes, but the mood remarkably changes on the following tunes. The alternance of silence and ethereal strings on "kayi" (drifting snow) and their amalgamation on the following "skriniya" (another Inuit word for snow, which refers to the snow that never reaches the ground) as well as the nine epic minutes of "katiyana" (night snow) gradually turn the initial vague disorientation into a kind of charming spell, that reaches the climax after the slightly clouded "naklin" (forgotten snow) on the ecstatic glisandi of "chatalin" (snow that makes a sizzling sound as it falls on water) and the enchanting last track "ylaipi" (tomorrow's snow), but if your appetite for sonic catharsis needs more, Oktaf recommends the 45-minutes digital bonus track that got bundled with the cd version on bandcamp.

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