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
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more