To say we are massive fans of French synthesizer legend Jean-Michel Jarre would be an understatement. We’ve been pretty fascinated by the man ever since Channel 4 aired Destination Docklands in ‘89 and he’s most likely got something to do with our persistent love of electronic music. As you’ll know JMJ has been releasing collaborative singles in the past few months, all in the lead up to a new album, and album which was finally announced over the weekend. Electronica Pt. 1: The Time Machine (there will be a part 2 in Spring 2016) is released in October and contains 16 tracks, each one seeing JMJ teaming up with another, often contemporary, artist.
We’ve approached Jerre’s new material with trepidation. Legends making comebacks have been pretty hit and miss in recent years; and even when they have (somewhat) hit, they’ve still not been able to capture the essence of what made them legends in the first piece (Giorgio Moroder and Nile Rodgers spring to mind) trying to hard to be relevant and up-to-date whilst missing the point of why people loved them in the first place. The fact that JMJ is collaborating with so many current artists rang a few alarm bells.
So far our fears have been, mostly, quashed by what we’ve heard. The first three singles, with Gesaffelstein, Tangerine Dream and 3D were all good, good enough for us to fork out for The Vinyl Factory’s 12” releases of them. Glory, the track he did with M83 was also good. His track with Armin Van Buuren was OK-ish. The announcement of the album came with a list of the remaining team-ups. Vince Clarke, AIR and John Carpenter will no doubt all produce some interesting results (the teasers of the Clarke and Carpenter tracks sound amazing). Fuck Buttons, Moby, Laurie Anderson, Lang Lang and Pete Townsend’s collaborations should be worth a listen. Boys Noize is their too, let’s hope feeling slightly more innovative than his 2007-Boys-Noize-by-the-numbers offerings of recent years.
And amongst those names sits one of right-now’s top tier electronic musicians. Little Boots. The Jarre/Boots collaboration is out now as an album pre-order track. It’s called If..! and, honestly, it’s the best thing we’ve heard from Electronica Pt. 1 to date. It’s just a massive Pop song. Built up over layers of synthesized bass; undulating kick drums pop and pulse coalescing into a summery swing, rolling and shaking from bar to bar. Victoria’s on fine Pop form as she delivers a catchy, carefree ditty wrapped in waves of warm electronics. We’re feeling like this might be the most commercially accessible track on the album and with the right push we could easily see this one charting. It’s definitely got a Jarre production sheen, being a thicker sounding track than the more stripped back production in Little Boots’ recent Working Girl album but with Victoria’s unique left-field take on ElectroPop permeating every second of it. We were around 50% excited, 50% nervous about Jarre’s new album, If..! has done a lot to push the swing-o-meter in the excited direction.
Check out the video below. We’re not 100% sure what’s going on there. There Jarre himself hanging out with some modular synths and lens flares, and some bearded dude and a girl being random. We’re probably missing something. Looks nice enough.
Jean-Michel Jarre’s Electronica Pt. 1: The Time Machine is released 16th October.
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