Julien-K is the electro-rock group spearheaded by former Orgy band members Amir Derakh and Ryan Shuck. They formed in the early 2000s and since then, have made quiet a name for themselves in the underground music scene. With four full-length albums under the band’s belt, they decided to run one of their most ambitious Indiegogo campaigns in 2017 – a four disk cd set featuring a total of more than 60 unheard tracks. As a fan, I was not going to pass up the opportunity to support the project and add this rarity to my audio collection.
It was with much anticipation that I recently received this package and I want to briefly give my general thoughts on it. I am not a professional musician, so this is by no means an expert review nor do I intend for this to be. I’m simply a great admirer of Julien-K and want to share their music with others.
It’s all about the unreleased tracks on disk one for me. These are songs the group had to leave on the cutting room floor from past albums and I am so thrilled they’re resurrected here. A dark, 80s vibe with a totally danceable feel is how I describe the sound. I’ve listened to this cd several times already and right now, “Darkest Days of My Bitter Youth” is my favorite.
Now imagine having the opportunity to hear initial, raw recordings of your favorite band’s songs. This is exactly what the second disk holds. It’s cool to compare the tracks found here against the finalized versions that landed on the albums, and it’s especially neat to refer to the booklet that accompanies the set. It gives further insight into the group’s creative process in these initial stages.
If I close my eyes and listen to disk three, I can picture myself back at Julien-K’s show during their 2017 North American summer tour with PIG and Ghostfeeder. The band does an awesome job adjusting their music for live concerts and Ryan vocally sounds great. Also featured here are recordings from the band’s acoustic performances. Chester Bennington adds vocals on “Palm Springs Reset” and it’s amazing how well his voice blends with Ryan’s. Some of you may know that Amir, Ryan and Chester were bandmates when they created Dead by Sunrise.
The final cd is a variety of remixes with the electronic component turned all the way up, plus a few additional live performances. My favorite track is the 2007 Brandon Belsky Remix of “Maestro.” I love long pieces (I’m a fan of classical music for this reason) and this song goes on for seven minutes, giving it the length to go deep and explore the heavy sound.
If you missed the campaign and didn’t have a chance to snag this cd set for yourself, luckily additional packages are available on the Julien-K official website, as well as the band’s full repertoire of music. This really is a collector’s item and if you’re not a fan yet, you’ll soon become one.
Check the band out for yourself by visiting Julienk.com.
And if you have the cd set, please share your thoughts in the comments below.