What does it sound like?:
Jean-Michel Jarre – yet another artist who I lost touch with as the years went by. I had Oxygene, Magnetic Fields, Equinoxe and even Concert in China, but my interest in subsequent releases gradually dwindled. Jarre turned seventy this year, and is still selling out huge venues across the world with his spectacular shows, headlining Coachella earlier this year. This new album ties in with the fortieth anniversary of the release of the original Equinoxe album, one of his most successful records, although the connections are actually fairly tenuous. Although you can pick up the odd musical phrase or theme that echoes the original, this is by and large a completely separate stand alone piece of work. The overriding themes are those of artificial intelligence and its potential impact on society and on humanity. Of course it’s not easy to convey that in the form of instrumental electronic music, so a big leap of imagination is required. The better pieces, and there are a surprisingly good number of them actually, sound like Blade Runner era Vangelis, which is no bad thing at all, moody, evocative and futuristic, and there are some very catchy sections scattered throughout, with the usual Jarre trademark sounds that surreptitiously worm their way into your brain. Some of the material though is quite unlike his previous work – when it works, like All That You Leave Behind, it sounds very good indeed, but where it doesn’t come off, such as Infinity, it sounds rather kitschy, like eighties eurodance of the worst kind. The best pieces, The Watchers, Machines Are Learning, The Opening and the title track, are certainly as good as anything he’s come up with since his heyday, and can hold their own against his best albums. I doubt if this will sell the millions of copies of his peak albums, but it is still an interesting, creative record, showing that after all these years Jarre has plenty of creative ideas left in the tank yet.
What does it all *mean*?
One of the godfathers of electronic music, Jarre is still pressing forward, trying to break new ground.
Goes well with…
Projecting your laser pen on to the living room ceiling.
Might suit people who like…
Electronic music, new sounds and ideas.