Dortmund, Germany's Martin Juhls creates immersive, sentimental ambient music under the name Marsen Jules. His pieces typically take acoustic loops (particularly strings, guitars, and pianos) and surround them with ethereal echo, creating calming yet melancholy atmospheres. While his lush, repetitive pieces may seem simple on the surface, they have a deep emotional impact, evoking distant memories, feelings of loss, and changing seasons.
Juhls began releasing minimal dub-techno tracks under the names Falter and Krill.Minima in 2002, and while he would occasionally return to the Krill.Minima alias throughout his career, Marsen Jules would prove to be his most prolific moniker, as well as his most highly acclaimed. Jules' debut, Lazy Sunday Funerals, was released by Autoplate (an imprint of netlabel Thinner) in 2003, followed by Yara in 2004. He signed to City Centre Offices, and his albums Herbstlaub (2005) and Les Fleurs (2006) were well-received. Jules' track "Où La Nostalgie Habite" appeared on Pop Ambient 2007, and the composer would become a staple of Kompakt's lauded compilation series. In 2007, Jules remixed Junior Boys' song "FM" and released his fifth album, Golden, on the Genesungswerk label.
After Autoplate folded in 2008, Juhls founded the Oktaf label in 2009 and reissued Yara with bonus tracks. In 2011, the label released Les Fleurs Variations, a four-track EP revisiting some of his older compositions with the help of twin brothers Anwar Alam and Jan-Phillip Alam, credited to Marsen Jules Trio. Jules' solo album Nostalgia also appeared on the label that year. In 2013, he departed from his sound slightly with the release of The Endless Change of Colour, a 47-minute drone piece released by Taylor Deupree's 12k label. Also that year, Marsen Jules Trio made their full-length debut with Présence Acousmatique. 2014 began with the release of Beautyfear, one of Jules' most haunting efforts to date, followed by At GRM and Sinfonietta (the latter released by Dronarivm) later in the year. In 2015, Jules released a USB flash drive including a 24-hour continuous version of The Endless Change of Colour. He also released The Empire of Silence, a proper-length CD, although the digital version included a 38-minute bonus track titled "Astrila." Jules' 2016 album, Shadows in Time, was a generative composition, and each individual pressing of the vinyl release or USB flash drive included a unique variation of the piece. ~ Paul Simpson