ellul
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ellul

| INDIE

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Band Alternative Avant-garde

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May
14
ellul @ MakeOut Room

San Francisco, California, USA

San Francisco, California, USA

Apr
28
ellul @ Muddy Waters

Santa Barbara, California, USA

Santa Barbara, California, USA

Apr
27
ellul @ pehrspace

Los Angeles, California, USA

Los Angeles, California, USA

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This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

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On their self-titled debut on the Sounds Are Active label ellul has managed to craft an album that should appeal to a wide array of musical palettes. Those that like vocal aspects of music will be drawn in by the emotional singing and complex lyrics and those that appreciate the instrumental side of things will love the heavy layering of both electronic and acoustic sounds. No matter which side of the musical fence you sit on, I think you will find this album as a whole extremely listenable and hard to turn off.

ellul is a duo comprised of Joel St. Julien and Joel Brown-Tarman. Their sound combines aspects of folk and rock music along with more modern electronic sounds to varying degrees. If you can imagine a vocal, instrumental, and lyrical collaboration between Radiohead and Neutral Milk Hotel, I think you’re about halfway to ellul’s sound, but still missing a lot of the great ideas on the disc.

There is a beautiful balance of acoustic and electronic sounds throughout. This is my favorite aspect of the album, as I generally fall the instrumental side of the aforementioned fence. Unlike many bands, the electronics never sound overdone and are surprisingly organic alongside the analog instrumentation. Also, some of the best and most surprising parts of the disc occur when songs jump seamlessly from dense electronics straight into acoustic guitar or piano.

Lyrically, ellul leans towards their folkier side, as the lyrics are all quite dense and poetic. Really, they are another key piece to the overall sound and concept of the album. Given my instrumental leanings, I sometimes downplay this aspect of music, but this is the type of disc that I would actually want to listen to again and again to hear and remember the lyrics.

I’m reluctant to highlight individual tracks because I think this set of songs is best enjoyed as a whole. There is a true sense of mood and flow here as one song carries flawlessly to the next without becoming repetitive. A sense of melancholy pervades throughout, but even this is punctuated by songs that sound positively upbeat and sunny by comparison. It’s a little comic relief, in a way. Each of these parts, happy or sad, are totally essential to the overall experience. Skipping anything would just be missing out on a strong piece of the album. 9/10 -- Matt Blackall (17 April, 2007) - foxy digitalis


Consisting of multi-instrumentalists Joel St. Julien and Joel Brown-Tarman, Ellul on their self-titled debut are accompanied by three fellow performers to create an enjoyable if not totally surprising debut. There's a fairly heavy ghost of Radiohead hanging over the album -- "Ballet Faces," which starts the CD, ends on a vocal/musical note awfully reminiscent of "You And Whose Army?," and while Thom Yorke isn't being cloned throughout any number of wailing backing vocals bring the Oxford quintet's harmonies to mind. (Though Paul Gray of the Blue Nile honestly comes just as much -- consider the performance on "Freedom," which could almost be a cut off of Hats.) The embrace -- polite if not overwhelming -- of the gentler side of electronic music on songs like "Maniacs Collide" further underscores the connection. But the continuum can be more accurately labeled as the kind of not-unknown but not-top 40 version of rock and roll moodiness of bands like the Flaming Lips as well, fitting in a niche while not being entirely part of it. Further, the attractive murk throughout is its own fine form of low key mood music, as with the conclusion of "Esophagus," soft keyboard drones and drums suggesting Mogwai's calmer moments, and the vocal/piano combination on "Around the Bend," a late night lament in the finest tradition (even with the rough beat burst in the middle). ~ Ned Raggett, All Music Guide - all music guide



Ellul – Esophagus.

"This is the sound of clouds not burning off. The sound of sleep seeds building up in the corners of your eyes. The sound of that last five minutes and five seconds before your alarm goes off. The sound of empty impossibility and pregnant pauses. Behind all this bullshit melodrama is a beautiful song. Built on a bed as comfortable and inviting as my own right now the song works in the language of minor paranoia and doubt. Maybe those aren't the right words though.

What's one level down from fear?

Sometimes these songs have a way of finding me at the perfect time. The day that is most overcast and I am most stressed out and tired, I wake up with Ellul—a band from San Francisco: a town that thrives on stressed out overcast. It all starts to fit together after awhile. Really, Ellul is two guys: Joel Brown- Tarman (vocals/keyboard) and Joel St. Julien (vocals/guitar). I have no idea if they're both really named Joel or if that's something they made up for the band's aesthetic. Either way, I'm fine with it. They recruited Los Angeleno Chris Schlarb from the Sounds are Active label to produce the thing, and brought in an extra musician or two to round it out. Sounds great to me.

Their self-titled album came out yesterday. You can check it out over at Sounds are Active and see for yourself." Mark Willet
- Music For Robots


“Over time, the LP proves itself as interested in hooks as much as atmosphere. And hooky or not, it is most often beautifully scary.”- Stereo Subversion - Stereosubversion.com


Ellul's self-titled debut is a soul-filled mixture of down-tempo electronica and experimental folk, meeting in the tranquility of a long, dark night. The result is a somber but clean-sounding album that nods to artists like The Dining Rooms and Tara Jane O'Neil. Song architecture clings to the avant-garde, listlessly guided by sonic textures and undulating swells.


Dual Joels (Joel St. Julien and Joel Brown-Tarman) front Ellul, and together they alternate between acoustic guitar and vocal duties. The result is an exchange of modulating timbres from pleasant murmurs to atonal, nasally howls in which lyrics cloak heavy waves of bass, electronic bumps and stripped-down percussion in darkness. "We have been led to waste / And you're nowhere to be found / You love to see us split in half / While we dance around our golden calf" haunts the composition of the sparse and creepy "Fragrance."


The production value of the album is stunning. It's hard to believe this debut was mostly recorded in public spaces (warehouses, churches, etc.) because the instrumental clarity, both electronic and acoustic, is polished and bright. Guitars and vocals pierce the lulling atmospheric background like a shuttle through space. Most of the album is unique and inspired, with occasional influence from the pages of Radiohead's Amnesiac. This comparison is most apparent on the slow-burner "Swamp King," which begins with a wistful acoustic guitar and a Thom Yorke-ish vocal pitch that waffles from melismatic swoons to falsetto bellyaches.


Although the album never breaks any tempo records, the songs are consistent and generally easy on the ears. Ellul manages to skirt the line between experimental and minimalist pop, mastering the ability to dip into both sides while maintaining the breathy subtlety that is the band's signature. (Sounds Are Active)


www.soundsareactive.com



-Christopher Petro - West Coast Performer


“Somewhere in between the darker side of late ‘90s indie rock and dissonant shoegaze comes the San Francisco duo Ellul. The band’s self-titled debut was recorded along the California coast in places as diverse as churches, industrial warehouses, and living rooms–which isn’t too surprising given the the guys’ lust for indie guitarscapes…”- XLR8R Magazine - XLR8R.com


“Just another Radiohead rip-off? Only until you grasp Ellul’s reasons for calling its style “contemporary vocal music” by digging into upfront lyrics about “the painful history of a transplanted Haitian son.” Intriguing music and vocals give this debut two legs to stand on.”- East Bay Express - East Coast Express


From Radiohead-comparable down tempo electronics and vocals to experimental folk and post rock influenced sound, Ellul have created an utterly surprising collection of songs for their self titled debut album. Ranging in emotion and composition, the album has amazing production values considering its humble warehouse and living room origins. Across the album there is also a feel of genuine sincerity, lending aid to their already amazing end evocative songs. Ellul will be touring widely through July. The album is available from their label website at soundsareactive.com. - The Deli SF www.thedelimagazine.com/sf


Ellul's self-titled debut blends the organic and the electronic, pairing acoustic guitar and intimate, yearning vocals with keyboards and echoing drum machine beats. Members Joel Brown-Tarman and Joel St. Julien possess the ability to balance experimentation and accessibility the way Radiohead does, inviting comparisons to that band on tracks including "Listen" (a short "Karma Police"-style strummer) and "Swamp King." Other highlights include the bluesy opener "Ballet Faces” and the closing track "Enamel On Iron," which pairs intense vocal harmonies with sparse, distant-sounding electronic drums and gradually builds to a climax of layered sounds. Ellul's music may be slow and quiet most of the time, but it is engaging enough to resist fading into the background.

- Kiri Oliver - The Owl Magazine www.theowlmag.com


News Released: July 14, 2007
ACCLAIMED SAN FRANCISCO DUO TOUR COUNTRY IN SUPPORT OF DEBUT RELEASE ON SOUNDS ARE ACTIVE
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA July 14, 2007 Music News

(PRLEAP.COM) SAN FRANCISCO- With the release of their self-titled debut album in May, ellul have begun to establish themselves and are starting to see their hard work pay off. Recent reviews have seen the album receive a 9 out of 10 from Foxy Digitalis with West Coast Performer Magazine calling the album "stunning." Others are taking notice as well; documentary filmmaker James Spooner invited the group to perform at the 3rd annual Afro-Punk Music Festival and Sounds Familyre duo Ben + Vesper have scheduled back to back performances in New York with the group in July.

"The last few months have been amazing." says vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Joel St. Julien, one half of the duo with vocalist/keyboardist, Joel Brown-Tarman. "We’ve sold and mailed out hundreds of copies of the album and played great shows on both coasts. Now we’re looking forward to filling in the gaps."

The band’s bizarre mixture of deeply processed electronics and spare folk/rock inventiveness has resulted in invitations to perform at music festivals across the country (from San Francisco’s Mission Creek and Brooklyn’s Afro-Punk) and has prompted the scheduling of a summer tour of the US. In addition to performances with Ben + Vesper ellul will perform alongside Benni Himm Himm (Iceland) and the::armor::class.

Despite the conspicuous absence of well-fed publicists and perfect storms of well calculated hype, ellul is doing thing the right way: Souly, Slowly, Soley.

ELLUL 2007 SUMMER TOUR DATES
Jul 14 Towne Lounge Portland, Oregon %
Jul 15 Cafe Venus Seattle, Washington
Jul 19 South Union Arts Chicago, Illinois $
Jul 20 Melody Inn Tavern Indianapolis, Indiana
Jul 21 SoLo Rochester, New York
Jul 22 Radio Bean Burlington, Vermont
Jul 23 The Abbey Somerville, Massachusetts
Jul 25 Goodbye Blue Monday Brooklyn, New York ^
Jul 26 Lit Lounge New York, New York ^
Jul 27 Circle of Hope Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Jul 28 Emmaus Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Aug 2 KRFC Live at Lunch Fort Collins, Colorado
Aug 2 Lions Lair Denver, Colorado
Aug 3 Coal Creek Coffee Laramie, Wyoming

% with Benni Himm Himm
$ with the::armor::class
^ with Ben and Vesper

CRITICAL ACCLAIM FOR ELLUL’S DEBUT, SELF-TITLED ALBUM
"There is a beautiful balance of acoustic and electronic sounds throughout… one song carries flawlessly to the next… Skipping anything would just be missing out on a strong piece of the album. 9 out of 10"- Foxy Digitalis

"This is the sound of clouds not burning off. The sound of sleep seeds building up in the corners of your eyes… of minor paranoia and doubt. Sounds great…" –Music-for-Robots

"Ellul manages to skirt the line between experimental and minimalist pop, mastering the ability to dip into both sides while maintaining the breathy subtlety that is the band’s signature." -West Coast Performer

"…an enjoyable if not totally surprising debut… the continuum can be more accurately labeled as the kind of not-unknown but not-top 40 version of rock and roll moodiness of bands like the Flaming Lips as well, fitting in a niche while not being entirely part of it."- Ned Raggett, All Music Guide

"The band’s self-titled debut was recorded along the California coast in places as diverse as churches, industrial warehouses, and living rooms–which isn’t too surprising given the the guys’ lust for indie guitarscapes." - XLR8R Editors


WEBSITES
Official site: www.soundsareactive.com
Band site: www.myspace.com/ellulband

Contact Information
Chris Schlarb
Sounds Are Active
Email Sounds Are Active
562-310-1583

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Discography

ellul the debris ep 2010 Sounds Are Active

ellul ellul s/t 2007 Sounds Are Active (www.soundsareactive.com)

ellul remix e.p. 2007 Sounds Are Active
remixes by Thavius Beck (Saul Williams), Blevin Blectum Mickey Eats Plastic, Deneir, Siamese Sisters, Radius, and Bookworms

Photos

Bio

ELLUL have been playing music together in the Bay Area since 2005. In the spring of 2007 they released their self-titled album on Sounds Are Active Records, owned by Asthmatic Kitty Recording Artist Chris Schlarb.

In the summer of 2010, ELLUL will release their
next release, Ashes.

Subtle, raw vocals, shimmering guitars and dueling electronics converge with choral harmonies and dark acoustic textures, beats, clicks, and pops.

ELLUL is Joel St. Julien and Joel Tarman.