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Album Review

Marsen Jules' Nostalgia, coming after a four-year break from full-length work under that name, finds the German musician perhaps not so much engaged in the titular activity as extending the scope of his interest in contemplation and serenity. His approach to ambient calm by this point was fairly distinctly his own, if not quite sui generis then certainly approachable and noteworthy. With the shuddering start of "A Moment of Grace" beginning the eight-track release, squeezebox resonances and the feeling of distant voices intertwining, Nostalgia starts on a note of quiet drama that informs much of what follows. Variations on the steady wheezing tone continue throughout much of the album, a feeling of deep, reedy breathing or a slow sleep while echoed piano bubbles up from the depths on the title track and synth strings ominously layer on "Endless Whisper of the Old Brigade." "Kunderas Dream" has a more open feeling perhaps, but a sense of general steady rhythm remains an underpinning. Set against the sometimes violent sentiments of the titles — one dark-sounding piece is called "Through Blood and Fire" — the sense is of something controlled, just on the edge of turning sharper or even darker. "Shadows/Waltz" may be the most appropriate title of all, its pace not waltz-like but suggestive of a late-night progression, slightly broken by dawn.


Born: 07 January 1977 in Dortmund, Germany

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Dortmund, Germany's Martin Juhls creates immersive, sentimental ambient music under the name Marsen Jules. His pieces typically take acoustic loops (particularly strings, guitars, and pianos) and surround them with ethereal echo, creating calming yet melancholy atmospheres. While his lush, repetitive pieces may seem simple on the surface, they have a deep emotional impact, evoking distant memories, feelings of loss, and changing seasons. Juhls began releasing minimal dub-techno tracks under the...
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Nostalgia, Marsen Jules
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