Julien Demoulin, Loose Ends

demoul_looseJulien Demoulin last showed up around these parts as Silencio, whose album Floods left me wanting more. Loose Ends is a group of pieces he recorded over the last 10 years, most exhibiting a laid-back post-rock vibe rich in pleasant guitar lines. By turns it exhibits optimistic brightness and alone-time introspection. “The Clarity of Purpose” immediately energizes the room with a galloping pace and a blend of guitar rock and electro-pop. (Do I detect a subtle hint of Ultravox here?) Shiny chime tones add some extra polish. “Fading Mind” lures me in with a warbling bass sequencer run. Demoulin folds in more elements like they’ve just entered the room and sat down—light taps of percussion, high chords, and guitar notes. It all stays low-key and almost ambient until he throws in a quick drop, and turns it into a full-on post-rock piece to captivate me even more. He shows a different and slightly surprising side on “A Moment With Doyle,” giving us a tender, ballad-style melody on what sounds to me like a dulcimer. A potent folk-song vibe runs through it, a rustic charm, and Demoulin further underscores it with field recordings and vocal clips at the start and finish. “What’s Left” leaves a trail of melancholy in its wake, with Demoulin picking out a slow and sliding guitar melody over quiet pads and a softly whistling accompanying line. Piano late in the track lends weight and gravity. There’s a lot to like on Loose Ends, although I could do without the 36-second shrug of an opening track and the song “Into Shade”—its drowsy, drooped-shoulders vocal does nothing for me beyond muddying up a good instrumental flow.

A solid outing from Demoulin, one that will find its home in my uptempo shuffles.

Available from Sound in Silence.

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2 thoughts on “Julien Demoulin, Loose Ends

  1. I was visiting Northern California in 2010 and was supposed to meet Brian Landis (aka Hey Exit) in Berkeley. Getting out of the BART station there he was waiting for me and a guy was playing the mini harp, busking. I had a sound recorder on me and asked him if we could hang out a bit, chat and maybe record him playing something. What you hear on the album is the unedited recording.

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