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Jean-Michel Jarre - Sessions 2000 CD (album) cover


Jean-Michel Jarre

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3 stars Jarre's last album for the Disques Dreyfus label, "Sessions 2000" is a completely different and unusual release from Jarre. It's basically an ambient electronic-jazz record, a very chilling experiment that fits best for rainy afternoons or cold nights in the autumn. Jarre definitely have done better, but it's always interesting to hear the artist experiment with stuff not tried by him before on previous releases. The overall result works well, though fans may be disappointed with it at first, but it is a grower and you will discover positive sides about it very fast. The album does not have any commercial spots, but "March 23" was used on the Gdansk concert last in 2005, a good song with a relaxing trumpet line through the song. The opener, "January 24" is also a good opener and the album flows well, despite some flaws. Otherwise than that, it's not a very memorable album among fans it seems, but I think this one is a brave and unusual album from JMJ.

I'll give it 3.5/5. Mostly for fans, though not a bad album at all in my opinion. New fans should get some of his earlier works, but older fans should check it out!

Report this review (#89353)
Posted Saturday, September 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Depending on your point of view, the best (i.e. earliest) albums by synth-superstar Jean Michel Jarre are today either icons of analog nostalgia or just plain dated artifacts. I'll admit I lost touch with his career after 1978, just before Jarre embraced the more sterile and bombastic digital sounds of the 1980s, and began touring the largest arenas on planet Earth. Subtlety doesn't count for much when you're setting world records for concert attendance and filling the night sky with pyrotechnic laser displays, and it seemed the more his fame grew the less interesting his music became (or was it the other way around?).

Which is one reason why this year 2000 recording (belatedly released two years later) took a lapsed fan like myself completely by surprise. The music, arranged like an audio diary of homemade studio doodles (each track is titled with the date it was made) marked a welcome return to the warmth and intimacy of Jarre's best efforts ("Oxygene", "Equinoxe"). But at the same time the album was a startling departure from his earlier work, and in its own quiet way remains a triumph of atmosphere and design.

It sounds almost like the score to a retro-chic, sci-fi film noir scenario (think of Godard's "Alphaville"), complete with evocative late-night trumpet solos and echoing vibraphones, all of it (plus the acoustic upright bass) presumably sampled and programmed on digital keyboards, but still very convincing.

The album might have been little more than a self-indulgent crass jazz pastiche, but Jarre isn't robbing other genres as much as creating something entirely new, similar at times to the intergalactic virtual cocktail lounge vibe of ROBERT FRIPP's ProjeKct 2, produced more or less concurrently. I'm thinking in particular of the "September 14" session here: Jean Michel was in a playful mood that day.

The collection ends on a note of almost mystic epiphany, recorded shortly before the final solstice of the last Millennium ("December 17"). The track adds a rich, ambient epilogue to an already unexpected album, and more than that capped an entire year of fertile music making, far removed from the crowds and acclaim of Jarre's mainstream career.

Report this review (#221850)
Posted Friday, June 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is quite a different album from JMJ discography. Surprising, should I say.

Although the album opens on a quite atmospheric and ambient part, the mood switches completely after half time and brings us to a total jazzy tune. Hectic, unstructured: IMO just a loose jam session. This is my mixed bag feeling about "January 24".

I wouldn't say that my perception of "March 23" is any better. I am not really expecting a sax experience (?) while listening to JMJ music. But this is what you get here. Not great overall.

Ambient and passionless are a good description of "May 1". Avoidable and not interesting for a penny (although I am a strong defender of the Euro). The same sort of "enthusiasm" prevails when I listen to "June 21". Again, the sax work (or its synth reproduction) is good but unexpected and globally not really a key element of his music.

As other reviewers have written (accordingly), this album leans definitely more into the jazz- rock territories than the prog electronic ones. This work doesn't belong to my fave ones from the artist (by far). Actually, I would challenge anyone in a blind test: no one could tell that this is from the master who wrote such great albums between '76 and '86.

Two stars. Do not start with this album if you are willing to investigate into his repertoire. This is for fans only (and even so...).

Report this review (#266022)
Posted Saturday, February 13, 2010 | Review Permalink

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