Julie Campiche and her quartet have returned to the experimental jazz scene with the release of their sophomore album You Matter, which came out 4th November 2022 after several years of writing and travelling. Jazz harpist, vocalist, arranger, composer, and electronic music producer… Julie Campiche does it all. She has an innovative streak, which moulds her music in beautiful and unusual ways. The Julie Campiche Quartet was formed in 2016 by bringing together some of the most exciting Swiss musicians on the scene. They enjoy intertwining electronic sounds with more organic timbres, creating a progressive jazz style that expands the boundaries of what we’ve heard before.
You Matter builds outwards from its emotive core of harp and saxophone. The album features Leo Fumagalli on saxophone, Hagmann on double bass, and drummer Clemens Kuratle alongside Campiche’s stunning harp and vocals. The album combines seven tracks which touch on various prominent issues in our day and age, including climate change, the mistreatment of refugees and the undervalued power of women. Campiche outlines:
We can feel overwhelmed by everything happening in the world, especially the climate crisis and what it all does for us. We can easily lose the impression that our actions count or have consequences. The idea is to reconnect with ourselves; with the feeling that we can impact our world; that our actions are important and meaningful. What I’m trying to do as an artist is to create a link between the big and the small, the intimate and the societal. We all matter, You Matter, so don’t give up, we can all make a difference.
The first track ‘Aquarius’ begins with a moody introduction based on a resounding drone. Campiche cleverly creates an atmospheric arrangement with echoing sound effects and repetitive patterns in each instrumental line, which gradually build to a climactic and gripping moment. The structure is almost through-composed in nature, with each instrument taking its turn to solo as it comes, establishing a strong relationship between all the musicians. The saxophone solo is a particular point of interest in this track, with its distorted and synthesised tone demonstrating the group’s innovative work with sound experimentation.
The ensemble’s electrifying chemistry is further emphasised through the call and response and interlocking polyphonic textures that dominate each track. Alongside the textural interest, the group take us through modulations, newfound motifs and developing rhythmic patterns; there is instantly a lot to be excited about with the Julie Campiche Quartet.
‘Fridays of Hope’ is the most politically driven track on the album. Campiche moulds the musical material around samples from Greta Thunberg’s speech at the U.N. Climate Action Summit in 2019. Several phrases are continuously repeated: ‘wake up’, ‘I wanted to act’, and ‘I wanted to panic’; this overall urgent tone is translated into the music through spooky and sci-fi-like instrumentation. The arrangement is striking and is a wonderful example of how music can be used for social and political reform.
‘The Underestimated Power’ also portrays a remarkable message; it touches on the unmistakable strength and power that women hold in our society. The track is haunting and cleverly plays on the contrasts between sound and silence to evoke emotion in the listener.
The way the Quartet orchestrate their ideas is admirable; to be able to find your individual sound and use it to speak out on the issues that matter, should be treasured and celebrated in the jazz scene.
- The Other’s Share
- Fridays of Hope
- The Underestimated Power
Last modified: February 14, 2023