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


Jean-Michel Jarre

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is floating modern New Age music. If you know Jean-Michel Jarre, you will notice that this record sounds more like his first ones: "Equinoxe" and "Oxygene": the keyboards are very floating here, and he avoided to create exaggerated clinical sounds and unexpected patterns, like it was the case on "Zoolook". There is also sometimes beat & some melodic keyboards, and the style is absolutely futuristic. The last track is a sober & floating track with saxophone parts, dedicated to the space shuttle tragedy at that time.
Report this review (#40981)
Posted Saturday, July 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After the experimental "Zoolook" album, Jarre turned a bit back to his classic 76-78 era sound with "Rendez-Vous". This one might be even more floating, spacey and accessible, sadly it's very short, lasting only a few seconds over 35 minutes and remains as one of Jarre's shortest releases. But that doesn't stop this album from beign great, several tracks here works extremely well, and the atmosphere and mood give an impression of beign in space and floating around in the air. It's very interesting to listen too, especially when you think of it at the same time. Works extremely well.

The album changes from happy to sad and depressing. "Rendez-Vous Part 6" is a perfect example of the latter statement, this moody saxophone oriented tune was dedicated to astronaut Ron McNair since he was killed in the Space Shuttle Challenger accident in January 1986. McNair was invited by Jarre to play saxophone in outer space for the piece. Sadly, the rocket exploded right after take-off and the entire crew were killed. Not a happy story, therefore, not a happy song, but a promising tribute to McNair and friends.

Overall, this album is excellent. "Rendez-Vous 3" could have been a bit more improved, and the ridiculousy short playing time could have been at least 10 minutes longer, so I'll give it 4.5/5. Highly recommended!

Report this review (#40997)
Posted Saturday, July 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is quite different to many earlier Jarre albums.Here he dispenses with the heavy multi layered sythns and seems to go for a more simpler ensemble of instruments.This allows him to put more emphasis on the composition rather than just creating interesting sounds and effects as before.Some of this is an absolute triumph.Second Rendez-Vous is absolutely splendid stuff which has an almost Vangelis like quality in the use of choir.My favourite though is 'Rons Peice'.I wouldn't often use the adjective 'beautifull' but here it is entirely appropriate.Overall it is uneven and the length of 35 minutes is a bit 'sad' but the inspired bits lift this to a 4 star album.
Report this review (#43009)
Posted Monday, August 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars After the funk and fun of 'Zoolook', JEAN-MICHEL JARRE strips the sould of his music right back to the bone. Virtually everything here is pads, save the occasional rudimentary drum machine, with an effect similar to an orchestra comprised entirely of the string section. It's very thin sounding compared to the riches of the previous album.

That said, 'Second Rendez-vous' is one of the greatest compositions of this or any age. It really has the feel of the first or fourth movement of a post-Beethoven symphony. Something I could imagine DVORAK having written. Stripping the supporting instruments away certainly lets this masterful tune stand out. I can only wonder, however, what it might sound like with a more sympathetic arrangement - some of the synth strings replaced by MAHLER-esque choirs, for example. When voices finally appear in part 4, it's too late - but beautiful all the same.

Had JARRE been born two hundred years ago, I have no doubt he would have become one of the great classical composers.

if the rest of the album had been up to this standard, it would be a masterpiece of any genre, and hang the arrangements. Sadly, this is not the case, though the remainder is pleasant enough. 'Ron's Piece' is redolent with tragedy, of course, but I can't listen to it without the image of the twisting columns of smoke and the bemused faces of relatives smearing themselves across my mind's eye.

A note. This is not new-age music. People persist in labelling any extended instrumental composition as 'new age', but don't let that (usually perjorative) label put you off. This album is classical music using synthesisers.

An essential eleven minutes for those of you who love classical symphonic music, or who enjoy a good tune.

Report this review (#117941)
Posted Tuesday, April 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
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 28 January 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.

Report this review (#127704)
Posted Friday, July 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I particularly like this JMJ album.

A very good return to better feelings after the dispensable "Zoolook". The music here is superbly cold ("First") and bombastic ("Second"). As usual, the man reverts to some sort of concept album: one epic divided into several short pieces. The whole flowing nicely into one another for some thirty-five minutes of very enjoyable synth orgy.

Even if there is no such hit as "Oxygen IV" and "Equinoxe V" there is still a good attempt with "Fourth", and this album certainly worth a detour for its good overall quality level of skills, melodies and passionate passages.

One of my favourite is the beautiful and warm "Third". To some extent, there are some similarities with his soundtrack "Les Granges Brles" which didn't score very high as a whole but did hold some excellent melodic parts. This section is really moving and offers a delightful moment to all electronic lovers.

The most hermetic part is obviously "Fifth": not too far from "Kraftwerk" and an experimental counterpart to maybe some more commercial acts.

The most emotional one is without any doubt, the sublime and closing "Last RV" (See B-J1 for more details). The mood is very dark, oppressive (for obvious reasons) and reminds me A LOT of the great "Subterraneans" from "Low" (Bowie ? 1977). Poignant sax, sad atmosphere, passion in all its splendour. A great track indeed.

Four stars for this very good electronic prog album. Nothing to do with prog related IMO.

Report this review (#256293)
Posted Tuesday, December 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
1 stars I probably had this LP a couple of months and got rid of it in the end... I had never heard such a dull, dusty and depressing sound carpet as on this one. Each Rendez-vous took me a step closer to complete and utter disgust.

Oxygne sounded fresh, spatious, liquid... So did the first parts of Equinoxe... Chants Magntiques still had some of that - though fewer and fewer. Zoolook surprised me completely... The guy tried something completely new for once and succeeded... And then came this awful piece of music... It's like Tangerine Dream's "Force Majeure"... That one was the beginning of a complete sellout... This Jarre piece was the beginning of pesudo music, pseudo events and a guy seemingly taking himself ever more serious... I can't see anything progressive here, just like "FArce Majeure"... Sorry but this is pure boredom.

Report this review (#277102)
Posted Friday, April 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
1 stars Hollow at the core

Like Jean Michel Jarre's 1976 breakthrough album Oxygene, Rendez-Vous too features our beloved planet Earth on the front cover. The dark and alarming image of a human skull appearing from underneath the Earth's disintegrating crust has however been replaced by a pic of a hollow earth decorated by a pair of lipstick-covered lips over a pink background! This change of visual aesthetic is actually very similar to the change in musical direction! Again like on Oxygene, Rendez-Vous features six pieces all of them called Rendez-Vous; First Rendez- Vous, Second Rendez-Vous, etc. finishing off with the dull lounge-Jazz of Last Rendez-Vous. Apart from this last one and the more commercial Fourth Rendez-Vous, there is very little distinguishing the six pieces and they all float together into one nebulous soundscape.

If there is a distinction to be made between listening to music and merely hearing music, the present album is certainly one for hearing only. While this might be pleasant background music, it is wholly uneventful and predictable. Apart from the aforementioned Fourth Rendez-Vous there are no melodies as such to speak of here and this particular tune is rather trite and unexciting with thin synth sounds and an overly simple melody.

Needless to say this is not my cup of tea and I can only recommend it to people with a strong special interest in Jean Michel Jarre and similar artists.

Report this review (#296613)
Posted Sunday, August 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Originally composed as a tie-in with the Challenger shuttle mission before, Jean-Michel Jarre's Rendez-vous is a piece whose backstory ends up with a little extra poignancy due to the disaster which claimed the lives of the astronauts. Overall it's a long piece reminiscent of Jarre's breakthroughs like Oxygene and Equinoxe, the vocal experiments of Zoolook having been set aside. Aside from the last piece being subtitled "Ron's Piece", in light of the fact that astronaut Ron McNair was supposed to play the sax part of it from orbit as part of the mission, the mood of the whole seems rather untroubled by the tragedy it was associated with, and if I had any major criticism it would be the apparent lack of strong emotion altogether.
Report this review (#1765990)
Posted Tuesday, July 25, 2017 | Review Permalink

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