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Jean Michel Jarre - Aero

Review: Jack Foley

AS A pioneer of electronic music for over 20 years, it is not surprising to find that Jean Michel Jarre continues to push the envelope, even when it comes to delivering a greatest hits compilation.

Aero was designed and recorded in multi-channel surround-sound and is therefore presented on both CD and DVD Audio discs in the same package (including Dolby Digital and DTS tracks allowing playback on a standard DVD video player in surround sound).

It marks the world’s first album to be fully constructed, note for note, in 5.1 surround sound.

As such, the album includes reworked versions of his golden oldies, as well as three new pieces, which continue to put the musician at the top of the pile in terms of electronic music.

The only surprise, however, is just which tracks from the back catalogue have made it onto the CD - and which haven't (presumably to bring out the best in the sound quality).

Hence, there is no room for the likes of Revolutions, Calypso, Chronologie 4, Ethnicolor, or Oxygene 8, which may disappoint some.

Yet Jarre more than makes up for it with crystal clear re-workings of Oxygene 2, Equinoxe 3 and Last Rendez-vous, not to mention life-enhancing versions of golden oldies, Oxygene 4, Chronologie 6 and Rendez-vous 4.

The effect is quite mesmerising, bringing Jarre to the attention of a new generation of listeners, while also providing his dedicated fanbase with something a little new to consider (which isn't bad for a greatest hits compendium).

Highlights, needless to say, include Oxygene 4, which sounds more electrifying than ever before, and the haunting, evocative and completely surreal Souvenir of China, which features Jarre's music set around the click of a camera.

It is a measure of Jarre's ability to progress with the times, that an album like Aero sounds as contemporary, today, as it might have done 20 years ago.

It all serves to ensure that the music of this particular magician remains timeless.

* Also included on the DVD, is a visual track featuring a close-up of the actress Anne Parillaud's (Nikita) eyes as she listens to the music for the full 73 minutes in one take, which is typical of Jarre's minimalist style.

Track listing:
Disc: 1
1. Aero Opening (Scene 1)
2. Oxygene 2 (Scene 2)
3. Aero
4. Equinoxe 8 (Band in the rain)
5. Oxygene 4 (Scene 3)
6. Souvenir Of China (Scene 4)
7. Aerology (Scene 5)
8. Equinoxe 3 (Scene 6)
9. Equinoxe 4 (Scene 7)
10. Last Rendez-Vous (Scene 8)
11. Zoolookology (Scene 9)
12. Aerozone (Scene 10)
13. Magnetic Fields 1 (Scene 11)
14. Chronology 6
15. Rendez-Vous 4 (Live Version)

Disc: 2 - DVD
1. Aero Opening
2. Scene 1
3. Oxygene 2
4. Scene 2
5. Aero
6. Equinoxe 8 (Band in the rain)
7. Oxygene 4
8. Scene 3
9. Souvenir Of China
10. Scene 4
11. Aerology
12. Scene 5
13. Equinoxe 3
14. Scene 6
15. Equinoxe 4
16. Scene 7
17. Last Rendez-Vous
18. Scene 8
19. Zoolookology
20. Scene 9
21. Aerozone
22. Scene 10
23. Magnetic Fields 1
24. Scene 11
25. Chronology 6
26. Rendez-Vous 4 (Live Version)

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