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Jean-Michel Jarre - Zoolook CD (album) cover


Jean-Michel Jarre


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3.37 | 121 ratings

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4 stars 'Zoolook' is fun, funky and an excellent departure from the trademark JARRE sound. I can understand why people don't like this album. It's replete with weird vocalisations, courtesy of Laurie Anderson, and will certainly not be everyone's cup of tea. But if you like a dash of 'weird' with your music, have a go at this.

The first seven minutes of 'Ethnicolor' serve as an introduction to the album. The track then bursts into life, and is to my ear the best thing (along with Rendez-vous II) JARRE has ever done. A forceful rhythm, including hammered drums and a funky plucked bass - yes, this is JEAN MICHEL JARRE - are joined by a fabulous synth line at the nine minute mark and the most gorgeous swirly synth exactly on 10:00. Go Jean!

The rest of the album has a similar dynamic. Some tracks are experimental - 'Diva', which title refers to Ms. Anderson and features her trademark laconic voice, if chopped up for the occasion, is one such - and others are the nearest JEAN-MICHEL JARRE gets to rocking out. You'll find something to like and something to laugh at in the second half of the album. Nice guitar work from ADRIAN BELEW, an excellent rhythm section and, well, a little too much vocalising. I find every track on the album bar the below-par and ultimately irritating 'Diva' eminently enjoyable. You gotta enjoy 'Zoolookologie' at the least; enormous fun. Say what you want about the 80s, but production techniques certainly improved. This is very crisp to the ear. What makes it work, ultimately, is the way the artificial synth is complemented by the organic voices. An absolutely essential component of electronic music, to my mind, or the result is cold and sterile.

If you love the smooth synth sound of 'Oxygene', don't come here for more of the same. I warn you, this is different. But different isn't always bad.

russellk | 4/5 |


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