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Jean-Michel Jarre - Rendez-Vous CD (album) cover

RENDEZ-VOUS

Jean-Michel Jarre

 

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3.39 | 69 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars 28 January 1986

By 1986, Jarre's events were overtaking his music to the extent that the music appeared to be written specially for the associated event, rather than purely as compositions in their own right. "Rendezvous" was to be the centre piece of a performance in Houston USA celebrating 25 years of NASA, and 150 years of Houston.

The space shuttle "Challenger" was due to be in orbit at the time, the plan being for astronaut Ron McNair to play saxophone on board the shuttle while the concert was on, the sound being transmitted live to the gig. The tragic events which ensued led to this album being dedicated to McNair and the Challenger crew. Five of the tracks are called "First rendezvous", "Second rendezvous" etc., the final track being "Last rendezvous: Ron's piece", as this was the track he was due to play on. Pierre Gossez plays McNair's sax part on this album.

The music itself is somewhat more prosaic and predictable than the story which surrounds it. It is effectively theatrical in style, designed to complement the light and laser show which are very much a part of the whole. The contribution of The Choir of Radio France on "Second rendezvous" heightens the dramatic effect, with bass notes a-plenty to set the timbers trembling.

There are inevitably similarities with the work of Vangelis who explored the same territory. There is though a more commercial feel to the music here; this is ambient synthesiser for the masses. The commercial aspect is at its height on "Fourth rendezvous", which has an "Oxygene" like rhythm and plenty of floating effects. It's good stuff though.

The "Fifth rendezvous" is the most dynamic and experimental of the six pieces, and hence appears to have been omitted from the concert performance. Those seeking something a little more avant-garde should head straight here. Given that it was written before the tragic events of 28January 1986, "Ron's piece" is strangely reflective, serving as a haunting eulogy for the six astronauts.

In all, an enjoyable album, with plenty of dynamic and enjoyable sounds though the compositions are largely superficial, being written with the multi-media effect in mind.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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