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Jean-Michel Jarre - Zoolook CD (album) cover


Jean-Michel Jarre


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3.42 | 151 ratings

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Easy Livin
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Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Available in 25 languages (including Pigmy, Eskimo and English)

Forever in search of a different angle for his albums, Jarre once again appears more infatuated with the theme than the music on "Zoolook". The sleeve notes boast that the human voices heard on the album "were created (i.e. sampled) from recordings of speech and song". He then goes on to list a plethora of languages which are included, these being "edited and transformed using different electronic devices".

Quite what the point of all this is can be rather baffling. The resulting sounds are largely those of synthesiser music with electronic drum rhythms and sampled vocals. In fairness, in 1984 when the album was released, it would all have sounded quite new and different, although even then it was hardly original. As I implied earlier though, my main gripe with the album is that the musical composition seems to have taken a rather sorry second place to the effects.

"Diva" which features the voice of Laurie ("Oh Superman") Anderson is the least distinguished of the bunch here, her vocal contribution being hacked up and apparently randomly edited back into place. Those who feel that Jarre's albums are too mainstream and wish he would do something more avant-garde should start here!

If the two long tracks on side one were undistinguished, side two's five shorter pieces are distinctly throwaway in nature. "Zoolook" sounds like the theme tune to a TV quiz show while "Wooloomooloo" degenerates into complete gibberish. The synthesiser on "Blah- blah café" has a slippermen like sound, but the track is lifeless and repetitive.

In all, "Zoolook" is a tediously dull album which focuses on the concept to the virtual total exclusion of the music. Those who enjoy the accessibility of much of Jarre's music should approach with particular caution, while those who wish he was less predictable will undoubtedly be surprised.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |


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