Marsen Jules: The Endless Change Of Colour

The Endless Change of Colour marks a dramatic change of pace for Marsen Jules (real name Martin Juhls, who also records under the krill.minima alias and manages Oktaf Records) given that all of his previous releases have featured multiple tracks of conventional length whereas this 12k outing is a single track lasting forty-seven minutes. That detail alone suggests that the recording represents some kind of zenith for its creator, and one naturally wonders how he'll follow such a venture. The work itself is a generative one that takes as its starting point a single phrase lifted from an old jazz recording and split into three audio streams. That the sampled recording isn't identified is a moot point when the loop-based treatments transform the original material into sound waves, harmonics, and overtones that supplant any and all identifying characteristics of the original; in that regard, one imagines that Jules could have used virtually any sound element as the starting point.

The loops gently pulsate in accordance with different time signatures and thus repeatedly come together and drift apart as the music unfolds at a slow and steady pace. Softly glimmering ripples of glassy sound fill the stereo field so fluidly that the effect is downright aquatic. Making good on its title, the work undergoes glacial shifts in tonality, such that were it be represented visually the transitions from one colour to the next would be so gradual as to be almost invisible. Needless to say, The Endless Change of Colour is ambient music in one clear sense in that it's able to blend somewhat surreptitiously into the environment; and given its generative design, its soft shimmer could also theoretically continue on endlessly (it's easy, for example, to visualize the work being presented as a gallery installation that plays non-stop during the month-long exhibition). At the same time, the recording holds up perfectly well as a rewarding listening experience on its own terms, especially when its temperature is warm, its mood serene, and its effect on the receptive listener entrancing.

April 2013