JEAN-MICHEL JARRE‘s new album, “Electronica I: The Time Machine” involves about 15 collaborators. From old school (Tangerine Dream, Moby, Air, etc), to new school (Gesaffelstein, Little Boots), and even other art pioneers (Laurie Anderson, John Carpenter), it feels like Jarre wants to show off his contact book. But it’s not like that. Jarre wants to write the History of Electronic Music through music itself in the appropriately-named work.

“I’ve wanted to tell a story for a while regarding electronic music history and its legacy from my point of view and experience, from when I started to nowadays,” Jarre says. “So I planned to compose for and collaborate with an array of artists who are, directly or indirectly linked to this scene, with people I admire for their singular contribution to our genre, that represent a source of inspiration for me over the last four decades I have been making music, but who also have an instantly recognisable sound. At the outset, I had no idea how this project would evolve, but I was delighted that everybody I reached out to accepted my invitation.”

And what a team of artists! M83, Tangerine Dream, Air, Moby, Laurie Anderson, Lang Lang, John Carpenter, Pete Townshend and more…

Jean-Michel Jarre

Though there are a number of places where you are reminded of the ambient sound landscapes Jarre has us used to, it is mostly an ode to modern electronic music.

 

It is of course extremely well produced with clear and typical interventions from each of the guests. I especially loved Laurie Anderson being right there in my ears on Rely on me. I don’t know if that would be good or not, but somewhere, I would love it if Laurie Anderson took care of me…

Glory, with M83, is quite a full impact piece as well. very tight yet somewhat dirty. In this spirit, Travelator with Pete Townshend is also quite a powerful mix of raw vocals, guitars, and Jarre synths. Then there is the sort of experimental The Train & The River, with Lang Lang, which ends the whole thing on intriguing atmosphere of rain and classical piano.

All in all the concept of the album with its numerous stars is more attractive than the music itself. Though it would be unfair to expect Jean-Michel Jarre to innovate every decade. In itself, the sheer fact that he was able to gather and work with so many personalities is a feast!

JEAN-MICHEL JARRE
Electronica I: The Time Machine
(Columbia Records, 2015)

-Genre: electronic music

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About The Author

Séverine Baron
Collaborator - RREVERB

Classical pianist in the great times of wearing braces, insomniac sound engineer with a headphone imprint on my skull, and also (mostly?) electro acoustic music composer during my existential self-questioning evenings. Mother to two garden gnomes, community manager and freelancer scribbler.