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EMPATHY

by Joel St. Julien

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1.
Empathy I 04:03
2.
Empathy II 02:49
3.
Empathy III 04:02
4.
Empathy IV 02:31
5.
Full Moon 14:32
6.
Where I am 03:44
7.
8.
9.
Released 03:56

about

PRESS:

"Early pieces register like those designed specifically for meditation and mindfulness, but as things progress their characterful textures and melodic hooks become more pronounced, avoiding the soothing but often featureless mulch of similar pieces." - The Wire

KQED's 10 Best Bay Area Albums of 2021: "With its ambient sounds and lush synthesizers, St. Julien’s music pulls us into the present, much like meditation. Like therapy, Empathy invokes a contemplative state, and St. Julien’s compositions become the catalyst for introspection, emotional examination, and resolution."

"Played all the way through, the tracks on Empathy sound like external battles giving way to inner tranquility—or, more specifically, giving way to empathy, the middle point between hardship and understanding. It's a testament to the often unlimited-seeming potential of modular synthesis, the healing abilities of music and the power of harnessing the here and now." - Resident Advisor

"There are intricacies abound in this music, but St. Julien’s use of soft melodies and transitive phrases to engage listeners and invite us into this world...Gentle synth patterns wax lackadaisical yet with purpose, each subtle shift a pyre that shields. Looping embellishments ring through fields of gold, casting shards of light into even the deepest crevices. This is a world where it’s possible to float free." - Foxy Digitalis

"Each track on Empathy flows like a river of concentrate, barely reaching its destination, barely reaching any destination at all...Beautiful." - Waveform Magazine

"Afrofuturism, aquatic inner and outer space utopias, deep sea research and modular synthesizers go together very well... forges new connections between heavy synthesizer noise and deeper ambient currents in a critical and self-critical reflection on racism, politics and identity in the United States and today's internet media." - Groove.de

"..what is immediately evident about his music is that much of his work embodies something more ethereal yet grounded in nature; it sits in an emotional space that is raw and immediate to the listener’s experience, but still distant enough to generate multiple interpretations." - Fault Radio

"St. Julien seems to excel at interweaving a variety of influences and sources into surprisingly cohesive pieces. Some of the compositions here have beats that are subdued into the background while others are beatless explorations into modular synthesis. More importantly, however, there seems to be a common thread among all of the tracks here: that is, an unplaceable vintage quality that permeates every sound...The result being something that crosses the line between modern and vintage." - On the Fringes of Sound

"Utterly beguiling music from Joel St. Julien, a Haitian-American artist based in San Francisco. The music ebbs and flows, swirling with abandon and singing with focused clarity. There’s occasionally a wash of noise alongside blasts of sound, while ambient memories float next to gnarly squalls. It’s possible to get lost in the 14-minute ‘Full Moon’, while ‘Morning Light’ is springy and bouncy, offering the confusion of the early day rather than anything serene and blissful." - Bandcloud

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"The moment we cease to hold each other, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out." - James Baldwin

LAND AND SEA is pleased to present our 38th effort: EMPATHY, an album/cassette by Haitian-American composer, sound artist, and musician Joel St. Julien.

For his first physical release, made during the early months of the 2021 quarantine lock down, St. Julien has woven together a series of lush, cinematic tapestries rooted in an attempt to understand, if not transform the perpetual state of the world. EMPATHY, produced and composed utilizing modular synthesizer and laptop, is a sonic, guttural response to the myth of ego and separateness that continues to be perpetrated by the fictitious, racialized ideal at the root of white supremacy. An almost alchemic act, with EMPATHY, St. Julien transforms echoes of American ugliness into profound beauty. These songs lend to the notion of the very human act of processing a harsh truth or sudden loss. At times sounds and gestures find themselves at odds with one another, yet in other moments we hear a soft field of harmony - perhaps a coming to terms with self.

In his own words, "The creation of this music was a balm for my depression and anxiety of constantly seeing America fail to reckon with its original sin. These songs were a way to create a world I could live in and create for myself - not as an escape but a safe place to be. It's my hope that this album gives you a place to be. It is my deep wish that communities of empathy continue to be created outside of the shadow of white supremacy. Beyond the gatekeepers of identity, beyond the righteousness of narcissism, beyond the Twitter fingers, beyond the ego of cancellation, beyond the ease of black mirror activism, beyond the indifference of your comfort, beyond the need to be perfectly understood, beyond the need to be a man."

"...beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” - Rumi

For tapes email christopherrobinduncan@gmail.com

credits

released October 8, 2021

Thanks to Chris Duncan/Maggie Otero/Land and Sea, Rhea, Olive, Jean-Michel, Jay, Brian, George, and my extended family and ancestors.

Joel St. Julien produced and composed this album from February - May 2021 in San Francisco, CA with a modular synthesizer and laptop.

Mastered for digital by Jacob Heule

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about

Joel St. Julien San Francisco, California

Joel St. Julien is a Haitian-American composer, musician, songwriter, and sound artist based in San Francisco. Joel has written music for documentaries, short / feature films, podcasts, and dance. He is a firm believer in experimentation/fusion with acoustic and electronic elements in sound oscillating through escapism and the mysticism of the present tense. ... more

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