Keltia III

The Jean Michel Jarre Collection.




Featuring one of the world’s most collectible albums, collaborations with Laurie Anderson, Sharon Corr (of The Corrs), Natacha Atlas and a gathering of Electronic music’s heavyweight remixers and DJs.

Disques Dreyfus further celebrates these new releases by moving Jarre’s classic catalog to a mid-line price point ($10.98 MSRP)

Even if someone doesn't know the name, Jean Michel Jarre, just hum a few notes from his 1977 world-wide hit, Oxygene, and the light of recognition will glow. The pulsing rubber-band rhythms and child-like melodies dipped in space echo and ambience sound as fresh today as they did when Jarre minted them on 8 tracks and a hand-full of cranky analog synthesizers. For the last 30 years, Jean Michel Jarre has been exploring the melodic regions of electronic music, predicting techno with Oxygene, hip-hop and ambient sampling strategies with Zoolook (1984), and the art of the spectacle with his city-wide extravaganzas that painted the skies of Houston and Paris in sound and light.

Born in 1948 in Lyon, he's the son of acclaimed film composer Maurice Jarre. His parents separated when Jean Michel was young and he says he didn't have much contact with his father growing up, but the cinematic sound gene was clearly passed down. His early music influences came from visits to a Parisian jazz club run by his mother. He literally sat on the knees of new jazz expressionists like Don Cherry and Archie Shepp and when he was 10, Chet Baker played “Happy Birthday” to him on trumpet.

Jarre spent some time as a jazz pianist, but the lure of electronics drew him into the socket. He got in on the ground floor, working with French musique concrete pioneer, Pierre Schaeffer in 1968. In the 1940s, using phonograph records and then tape, Schaeffer created compositions out of sounds from the world. Ostensibly one of the first "scratch DJs", his influence would echo later in Jean Michel Jarre's music.

This year, Disques Dreyfus will honor the remarkable career of Jean Michel Jarre - 80 Million albums sold, several Guinness World Records for concert attendance, and a profound effect on popular music. On February 16, they will move all classic Jarre titles (including Oxygene, Equinoxe, Chants Magnetiques, and Zoolook) to the mid-line price point ($10.98). Beginning in January, they will release the first of many long-awaited titles as part of ‘The Jean Michel Jarre Collection’.

LES GRANGES BRULEES (Disques Dreyfus 36254, In Stores 1/20/04) Before exploding on to the pop scene with Oxygene, Jarre attempted to follow in his father's footsteps with his 1973 soundtrack to Les Granges Brulees. Directed by Jean Chapot and starring French film icons Simone Signoret and Alain Delon, Les Granges Brulees finds Jarre working in quasi-classical terrain with decidedly angst-ridden, avant-garde edges. Creaking doors, scrapes and rustles sit alongside classical synthesizer opuses ala Wendy Carlos. The album was a commercial disappointment, inspiring Jarre to develop his electronic music for the masses (hence Oxygene). The rest, as they say, truly is history.

The album was never released outside of France, making the original vinyl one of the most sought after records of all time. It still fetches upwards of $500.00 on the collectors market, putting it in the ranks of the infamous Beatles ‘Butcher Block’ album.

ODYSSEY THROUGH O2 (Disques Dreyfus 36163, In Stores 3/23/04) It's the analog synthesizer sounds that artists like Jarre, Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk created in the 1970s that still resonate a quarter century and new millennium later. On Odyssey Through 02, several re-mixers and DJs take Oxygene 7-13 as their template for further explorations, all mixed in a continuous soundstream by French DJ Claude Monet.

Highlights include "Oxygene 10 - Transcengenics", which turns Jarre's original piece into an ethno-ambient meditation replete with sitars and tablas. Hani applies trance tactics to the more beat driven sounds of "Oxygene 8 - Hani's Oxygene 303" while Monet's own remix on "Oxygene 13" sends a jungle shiver through Jarre's opus. Other DJs joining in include DJ CAM, Resistance D, Boodjie & Veronica, Sunday Club, 440 and Takkyu Ishino. Techno motifs and dance grooves aren't foreign to Jarre, who has infused them into his music for years.

METAMORPHOSES (Disques Dreyfus 36164, In Stores 5/25/04) Metamorphoses takes us to the future of Jean Michel Jarre, albeit from the past. It was released in Europe in 2001 and was criminally unavailable in the U.S until now. What we were missing was the logical extension of Jarre's 1984 album, Zoolook, infusing kinetic grooves with global voices, world grooves and staccato samples all marinated in the composer’s synthesizers, their flavors permeating each other in a digital stew.

There's the ecstatic voice of Natacha Atlas crying out to the heavens on “C'est La Vie." Her impassioned, over the top performance, with a hint of humor, contrasts against the cool, disembodied delivery of Laurie Anderson, reprising her role of digital diva from Zoolook. This is Jarre at his most playful, and sublime, using singers as musical instruments, playing with phonemes and fragments. He skillfully integrates conventional instruments into his mix, using the violin of The Corrs' Sharon Corr as a Celtic oasis within the mechanized menace of "Rendez-vous Á Paris." Tracks like "Miss Moon," featuring the chameleon voice of Diedre Dubois, the American singer in the French band, Ekova, are updated variations on the kind of epic works we've come to expect from Jarre, but with a grittier, electronica edge.

OXYGENE 7-13 (Disques Dreyfus 36159, In Stores 7/27/04) From Les Granges Brulees, it's a quantum leap to Oxygene 7-13. In 1997 Jarre looked back to his signature work, but instead of re-working the themes, he approached it as if he had finished OXYGENE 1-6 and then walked in the studio the next day in 1976, rather than two decades later. Jarre dusted off his classic analog synthesizers like the ARP 2600, VCS3, Mellotron and Theremin and continued on his epic journey.

Originally released through Sony in America, Disques Dreyfus will re-issue Oxygene 7-13 at a mid-line price, joining it with the balance of Jarre’s catalog on the classic Electronic label.

While robots are trawling the surface of Mars and America is reasserting its desire to travel the spaceways, Jean Michel Jarre may be more relevant than ever, ready with a soundtrack to rocket you to the moon, the dance floor or the inner spacescapes of your soul.

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