Several months ago I wrote an article featuring one of my absolute favorite bands, Julien-K. Since that time, Julien-K had made a progressive decision to resort to crowdfunding via Indiegogo to ask the fans to help them bring their most ambitious project to fruition. The project would be a double album released in two parts, with the first part entitled “California Noir Chapter 1: Analog Beaches and Digital Cities”. The crowdfunding campaign was an absolute success, with the funding goal of $10,000.00 being met nearly three times over; a true testament to the following Julien-K has garnered. For anyone who read the original piece I posted, you will recognize the same name “California Noir” from the EP they released last summer being retained for this project . Yes, those three songs are included in “Chapter 1”, but if you liked what you heard there, you’re in for some serious ear candy with the full release as the additional seven songs are just as jaw-dropping and uplifting.
Today, “California Noir Chapter 1: Analog Beaches and Digital Cities” was released as an advance digital download for those who contributed to Julien-K’s Indiegogo campaign (provided you donated towards the digital download option at a minimum) with physical copies to follow shortly. I have to say that nothing brightened up my day more than seeing that email show up in my inbox, and I have been spending the morning sending every selection straight into my eardrums through my BlueAnt Pump HD Sportsbuds equipped with Comply Foam Isolation Tips to ensure that not a single drop of the audio would be interrupted or leaked out. I went in expecting nothing short of excellence, but even Julien-K outdid themselves this time.
The opening track that shares the same name as the album is an instrumental track that incorporates sounds of the beach with ambient synthesizers. It is a two minute prelude to the second tune, “Strange Invisible”, which was such a powerful display of aural magic that I had to hear it several times in a row before I could proceed to the next one. The songs that followed were equally mesmerizing and even included hints of the classic Julien-K sound from the “Death to Analog” days mixed with the direction that they have decided to take their music, which I have to say is not only glorious, it’s cutting edge, and they seem right at home with it. While every song further solidifies this project being Julien-K’s magnum opus, I was most intrigued by “Cast Into The Sea”. It was the newest sound I’ve heard in years from ANY band, and it was just one of those songs that shoots straight down into your soul and affects you emotionally. You can’t put a price on that.
As a fan, I am in awe of the pristine quality and complex production that went into this album. Ryan’s writing and singing, Amir’s guitar prowess, and Fu’s expertise at the mixing console are all proof that Julien-K deserves to be a leader in the music industry. These guys aren’t holding out for a paycheck: they’re doing what they do best and retain the passion of performing that has been lost over the years across all genres due to greed and commercialism. As a lover of music, I strongly urge others who are in search of something deeper to make “California Noir Chapter 1: Analog Beaches and Digital Cities” a part of your library right away. Albums like this are the reason why I’d pick music over any other form of entertainment every time.