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Jean Michel Jarre - Zoolook (1984, Remastered 2015)

30-01-2015, 20:02
Music | Instrumental | Electronic | Ambient | New Age

Jean Michel Jarre - Zoolook (1984, Remastered 2015)

Artist: Jean Michel Jarre
Title Of Album: Zoolook
Year Of Release: 2015
Label: Sony Music
Genre: Electronic, Ambient, New Age, Instrumental
Quality: 320 Kbps
Total Time: 37:54 min
Total Size: 104 MB
WebSite: amazon


01. Ethnicolor - 11:48
02. Diva - 7:22
03. Zoolook - 3:52
04. Wooloomooloo - 3:18
05. Zoolookologie - 4:21
06. Blah-Blah Cafe - 3:21
07. Ethnicolor II - 3:52

Jarre was never a critical favourite (in the UK he barely existed, as far as the music press was concerned), and although 'Oxygene', 'Equinoxe', 'Magnetic Fields' and 'Rendezvous' are the albums to start with if you're interested in Jarre's take on spacy synth pop, 'Zoolook' was where he went all experimental. It has Laurie Anderson on it, and is reminiscent of Brian Eno and David Byrne's 'My Life in the Bush of Ghosts', recorded as it was with an early sampler. Indeed the whole album is plastered with samples of voices, and although it sounds very old-fashioned there's a certain primitive early-80s avant garde charm to it. It's a fan favourite, with all that entails; it's hard to get into, and not all of it works, but it's intriguing. Only two of the tracks are conventional pop tunes, and if you don't like 'Ethnicolor' you're going to hate this album.

Musically it is double-plus unlike Jarre's earlier and later work, almost as if the man was channelling the spirits of Talking Heads and Peter Gabriel, and aspects of contemporary American dance music. The title track and 'Zoolookologie' are catchy and fun, the closest he came to funk. The remixed versions presented here were added quite early on in the album's run, and are superior to the generally-similar versions to be found on early LP pressings. They're almost like something by the Tom Tom Club, but with a multi-million franc budget.

Both 'Blah Blah Cafe' and 'Diva' popped up on the previous year's 'Music for Supermarkets', and the latter is presented here with Laurie Anderson performing vocal sounds. The former is again reminiscent of Talking Heads, although it doesn't really go anywhere and suffers as a result ('Diva' has a similar problem; there are two parts, but they don't progress).

'Ethnicolor' is, in contrast, a sombre dirge dotted with random sampled speech, which turns into a quasi-rock number at the end. It's the album's high point and starts off with a particularly memorable screeching noise. As far as I am concerned it's the best of Jarre's prog-esque multi-part longer pieces, quieter and sadder than 'Rendezvous II' from his next album.

'Woolloomooloo' and 'Ethnicolor II' are what would now be called ambient, although only the latter really works, its mixture of found sounds and mournful sampled cellos acting as the perfect finale. The album itself sold poorly and Jarre turned his back on this kind of this; his next release, 'Rendezvous', was slick electronic pop music with an entertainingly Wagnerian symphony taking up most of side one. 'Zoolook' is an aquired taste, and Jarre was clearly never going to be held in the same esteem as Eno or Boulez, but it remains fascinating today, a little relic of early sampling.

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