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Jean-Michel Jarre - Les Chants Magnétiques [Aka: Magnetic Fields] CD (album) cover


Jean-Michel Jarre


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3.52 | 135 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars While Jarre continued making records, his musical vision became tighter, not innovating within itself, but recreating itself with an increasingly bigger drive. This time, the first half of the album is entirely concentrated on Part I, which is one of the most amazing Jarre's compositions ever! It is constructed as a sequence of two main successive motifs, with a dreamy interlude providing some sort of cosmic spirit. The first main motif is based on a dynamic series of synthesized chord progressions, with lots soaring layers and additional harmonies that go on displaying all over in a solid and elegant crescendo; the second one has a more orchestral feel, in this way bearing a prog-like architecture (as near to progressive as electronic pop can be). The most notable features of this second main motif are the clever use of countermelodies and the introduction of some moderately improvised synth leads - Jarre is decidedly expanding his musical line of work toward its most ambitious level so far. The second half is focused on the use of separated concise ideas. Part II is a catchy techno-pop number built on a twist-like rhythm pattern; this was the album's first single. Part III is a basically a soundscape of various sundry electronic effects: machineries, tuned percussion, radar clicks, beats. all these sounds are emulated by synths that serve as colours for a portrait of a factory. Part IV is the most beautiful number in the album: its evocative melodic lines and relaxing layers remind me of 'Equinox' Parts IV & VII, but with a more serene atmosphere. At times, Jarre incorporates some Latin jazz nuances: once again, the sound of heavy machinery re-emerges at the end of this track. Part V is, plain and simple, a rumba: Jarre goes deeper into the Latin thing and offers a rendition of this prototype of Latin American Creole sensuality. My guess is that the keyboardist intended to bring a touch of human candour after all the modernist paraphernalia that had taken place so far: anyway, this is mostly a funny way to create a frontal contrast against the entire preceding repertoire, and as such it should be enjoyed by those who intend to. Before I finish this review, let me state a personal note: back in my teenage days, when I was starting my collection, Jarre was very popular in Spain, and of course, among my school friends, and I myself participated of the general good vibe that this talented French received in the country - "Magnetic Fields" was my first Jarre experience, and learning to love his music was an important part of my early prog-head education. Years have come and gone, and I still feel this album is excellent, ambitious enough as to deserve a place in any good prog collection.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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