Julverne — Le Retour du Captain Nemo
(Igloo IGL 089, 1986/1992, CD)
by Mike Ohman, Published 1995-03-01Julverne sprang from the same Belgian underground avant-garde music scene that produced Cos, Univers Zero, Aqsak Maboul, and Art Zoyd. As such, members of all the aforementioned bands, at one time or other, played with Julverne at one time or other. This release anthologizes from the second and fourth of the group's four albums: A Neuf and Ne Parlons Pas de Mahleur. Also included are two previously unreleased tracks, "Joyeux Noel, Cap'tain Nemo!" and "'T Kofschip," which pre-date the first album. Like Art Zoyd, Julverne's music owes a lot more to chamber music than rock. Strings, woodwinds and piano are used in various configurations. No guitars, no bass, no drums and no electric keyboards of any kind are used. In a way, this is not unlike the attempts at neo-classical music by bands such as Banco (Di Terra), Esperanto, and Gentle Giant, but taken to its logical extreme; jettisoning the mantle of rock music altogether. Though resembling classical music more than anything else, the group does borrow some ideas from rock; specifically improvised solos and an often strong rhythmic pulse. The consonances and dissonances are very well balanced. It's a much easier listen than, say, Art Zoyd, because they save the discordant parts for climactic passages. Much of the rest of the music is dreamily melodic, but not safely so. The music is constantly challenging, on occasion suggesting the music of Bartok and Stravinsky, other times less avant-garde 20th-century composers like Hindemith. An intriguing exception is "Polka," which sounds uncannily like Mozart, albeit with playful dissonances in the middle section. If you're willing to survive without the crutch of a rock rhythm section, I think you ought to give Julverne a try. Their music, while certainly not rock, is nonetheless daring and original, and deserves to be listened to by those searching for something a little different.
Related artist(s): Julverne
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From the press release:
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water takes from Echo Us' past and spins it into a whole new direction, one closer to traditional acoustic Celtic music than ever before.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water was composed and recorded during the first few months of 2017. Although Celtic influenced and comprised of a number of re-workings of Irish folk tunes and Breton aires, the album is still in large part new and original Echo Us music that fits right in the Echo Us ‘canon’. “Wake” is a natural progression from “A Priori Memoriae”, which was released to critical acclaim in Europe in 2014.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is Echo Us’ ‘Celtic’ album that was planned for a long time but never executed because of the work on the trilogy that came before it. The album title is a typical ‘Echo Us’ play on words which one can find their own meaning.
“It is also both evocative of the Oregon rain, which I am told is not too unlike the rain in Ireland.”(Matthews)
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is also a comment on conception- which was unintentional when the lyric was written. Matthews surprised himself a few months after writing it, realizing that the song was actually about the nitty gritty, biological workings of what happens when a child is conceived. The folk song it derives from musically describes a courting ritual, one that even today we can all relate to in our own way.
“Come With Me Over the Mountain" in acapella was the musical inspiration for the song, and came into my consciousness after the lyrics were written a few months prior. “ (Matthews)
As with all Echo Us recordings, a number of seeming coincidences resulted in connections being drawn where prior there were none. Another experience of similar capacity was found in oboe samples from A Priori Memoriae that echoed the traditional “May Morning Dew’, also reworked for guitar on the new album.