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marsen jules - Yara
Marsen Jules' outstanding slice of contemporary classical music, Yara, has been finally issued by the Oktaf label, complete with two bonus tracks that add nearly twenty-minutes of new music. As established fans of this artist's work will already know, Jules (real name Martin Juhls) has forged a creative path through dissecting classical music and reshaping it in a Arvo Part-inspired, looping, minimalist fashion. All the original acoustic recordings used for this album come from the classical trio, Yara, with harp performances by Meike Rath, and despite being heavily manipulated and sliced into loop-shaped fragments, there's a very in-the-room live feel to this record. This manifests itself prominently on the bonus cut 'Harfenklang' through the intimacy of the piece's short, reflective reverb - lending a sense of perspective on the harp sounds - but over the course of the main album, Juhls' focus seems to slowly disintegrate and disperse into the auditorium: from 'Yara 4' through to 'Yara 6' you'll hear the strings, piano and harp starting to vapourise. This ethereal tone is reprised on the closing fifteen-minute 'Yara Variation', which layers the ambience of the performance venue with recordings of crowds and percussive, bell-like sounds. On this piece the string instruments arc and soar from the low-level babble of the space, bringing a miasmic, fluid quality to the composition that obscures the joins in the loops. There's a faded, distant beauty to these recordings that sets it apart from much of what passes for modern classical music these days. Lovely.