Marsen Jules Trio Les Fleurs Variations

I had Martin Juhls' 2006 album, Les Fleurs, as one of my "best of" picks for that year, describing its electronic coalescence of minimalist themes as "the soundtrack to a gardened city." This four-track EP revisits that city, allowing Anwar and Jan-Phillip Alam (Juhls' friends and live performance cohorts) to settle in with their violin and piano amongst the blossoms. Anwar's violin is the most immediately notable addition, as it sometimes slithers through the undergrowth and at other moments soars hawk-like to provide a new vantage point to take in each theme's languid structure. Jan-Phillip's piano is mostly absorbed by the colours and tones of Juhls' existing vibraphone and harp manipulations, though it subtly enhances their intensity. The overall feel is more like a "duo plus album track" collaboration than a trio taking on the pieces anew. The more live instrumental presence does bring the music a few steps further into minimalist classical territory. And it made me go and dig the original album out for a few replays as well. (Oktaf)