»Herbstlaub,« the third album by Marsen Jules, was both introspective and visionary, modest and ground-breaking. Blending elements of classical music with electronic textures, the German artist created six pieces that draw on the power of repetition, yet are full of internal tensions and sweeping dynamics. Now, Keplar makes it available again on vinyl for the first time since its original release in 2005. This version, remastered by Stephan Mathieu and with a new artwork by Umor Rex’s Daniel Castrejón, shines a new light on a record that paved the way not only for the artist’s later work, but also further developments in electronic and ambient music more broadly.
»The noughties were a special time,« says Marsen Jules today. »It felt like there was a new tool made available practically every day that allowed you to create new musical worlds on your computer.« Hence, this prolific phase saw the emergence of a plentitude of genres and styles that can be traced back to individual records—»precious gems that opened up new possibilities and anticipated a lot of what later would be picked up on,« as he describes them. »Herbstlaub« surely falls into this category, having paved the way for a distinct approach to combining elements from classical and electronic music.
While Wolfgang Voigt was focusing on the marriage of romanticism and techno with his Gas project at the same time, the six pieces on »Herbstlaub« follow a very different concept. Through repetition and reduction, Marsen Jules threw any sense of time out of joint while also inserting an emotional component into the music. »What would remain if you abstract musical contents to this degree, how much of your personality would still resonate in it,« he sums up the questions that shaped his approach. »When will reduction result in monotony, and how could unique, magical moments created through repetition?«
More than one and a half decades later, »Herbstlaub« seems both melancholic and brimming with excitement. This is the sound of an artist experimenting freely with the sounds and structures of two supposedly irreconcilable musical traditions with new and exciting tools, creating something previously unheard of in the process.