The fallen angel. The rebellious soul expelled from the pearly gates and forced to live in hell among mere mortals for eternity. Here they endeavour to condition and corrupt everything around them; a bold middle finger aimed in the direction of its former home in the promised land. Now imagine a soundtrack to this tragic tale. FunkinEven—also known as Steven Julien— has made just that with his debut album Fallen.
Split into two contrasting chapters, Fallen follows the trail of our main character. The first six songs introduce us to utopia; a collection which is matched by the light and airy tones of this initial set. The twist comes right down the middle, where we descend into the project's darker, hellish bogs. Both episodes intertwine seamlessly, and all composed, written and produced by Steven himself.
Julien plays the majority of the instruments you hear on the record, using session musicians — including three appearances from Hercules on bass — sparingly to plug any gaps. All the above choices combine to emit a contagious warmth that blankets the whole record. Within the dozen tracks, he jumps between everything from jazz fusion to techno. It's easily his best work to date.
Steven Julien first surfaced in 2009 with a refreshing sound unlike many of his contemporaries. While his peers flirted with R&B, abstract grime and whatever else, Julien forged his own path; one which partnered an organic, analogue sensibility with the sounds of electro, '80s funk, and acid. Initially affiliated with the Eglo camp, he eventually formed his own label, Apron Records, which has become a reliable outlet in its own right; not only for his own workings, but also as a home base for talents like Seven Davis Jr and Greg Beato. He's also proven to be an avid collaborator over the years, having worked with Fatima, Delroy Edwards, and, most notably, Kyle Hall, with whom he creates the unapologetically raw sounds of FunkinEvil.