Release Date: Oct 16, 2015
Record label: RCA
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock
In the late 1970s, Jean-Michel Jarre’s albums Oxygène and Équinoxe sold in their zillions, demonstrating that electronic music could be embraced by mainstream tastes. Almost 40 years later, the list of Jarre’s collaborators on Electronica 1: The Time Machine reads like a who’s who of electronic music, including Massive Attack, Moby, Air, Vince Clarke, Laurie Anderson and John Carpenter. True, by assembling such a stellar lineup, Jarre is reminding us of his status as a pioneer.
The original electronic music artist, Jean-Michel Jarre, brings the past to the present with an ambitious project, a double album of collaborations with current electronic music superstars—and The Who's Pete Townshend—entitled Electronica 1: The Time Machine (part two will be released within six months). The collaborators on this project—Air, M83, Little Boots, Moby, Boys Noize, Fuck Buttons, John Carpenter, Massive Attack's 3D, Vince Clarke, among others—follow Jarre's lead, sounding more like him than themselves. Not to say that they don't leave a mark on these co-writes, but you wouldn't find these songs on their own artist albums.
In many ways, Jean-Michel Jarre is a natural fit for today's electronic music culture, with its fireworks and bombast. The French producer was a pioneer of flashy outdoor events—laser harps, pyrotechnics, crowds of a million or more, and budgets running into the millions, set in places like the Great Pyramids of Giza. His records sold like hotcakes—his 1976 debut, Oxygène, is said to be France's best-selling album ever—and featured spacy, arpeggio-laced fantasias, halfway between the "cosmic" synthesizer music of Tangerine Dream and the techno-pop of Kraftwerk, but they often veered dangerously close to kitsch.