Julian Julien composes and plays music with his band, Fractale. Here he releases a live album (which I presume is his first Fractale release), called "Suranné", which was recorded in Paris at "Zebre de Belleville". Aside from shows in Paris, Julian says they travelled in the USA in 2009 (Baltimore, NYC, Chicago and Atlanta).
This release is quite short and to the point. The music is upbeat, jolly and accessible. Though uncredited, there are small embellishments of electronic sounds that add a mysterious flavour to the music. The sound is pretty good for a live show, particularly on the first 5 tracks. The last two tracks are of lower sound quality.
To give you an idea about the music, here’s the instrumentation:
First 5 tracks lineup:
3 saxophones (alto, tenor and baritone), 2 trumpets, 1 tuba and drums.
Last two track lineup:
4 saxophones (alto, soprano and two baritones), 2 trumpets, 1 clarinet, 1 tuba and drums.
While I dislike making comparisons to other bands and stating influences, I have to say that the minute I started listening to this, I was reminded of Miriodor’s sound and style. That frisky and humorous brand of music that also incorporates saxophone, trumpet and trombone.
Julian states their influences to be Soft Machine, Pink Floyd, John Surman. As I’m only familiar with the first two, I can only say that I don’t hear their influences in the music on this album. This sounds like a brass big-band playing lively tunes. There are two pieces that are without drums and include electronic sounds that are more abstract in nature, though the saxophone leads the way, preventing the melody from losing focus. Those are nice interludes and experimentations that contrast nicely the vibe of the other compositions. Partie V is a nice combination of the two sides of the band; the brass-dominated aggressive side and the spacier and electronics-dominated element. This is a direction I’d like to hear Fractale take and develop.
This is a self-released and limited live release and so considering this, I think this is a good product. But I hope Julian can get to record another release with more tracks and consistent sound quality.
You can read more about it here.
Listen (and buy) here.
Julian Julien Official Website