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Jean-Michel Jarre - Aero CD (album) cover


Jean-Michel Jarre


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3.12 | 31 ratings

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3 stars Anthology of electronic revisited originals

Instead of releasing (another?) traditional anthology or best of compilation, Jean Michel Jarre decided to create Aero - which apparently stands for 'anthology of electronic revisited originals' - in 2004. As the title implies this album contains re-recorded versions of previously released material from throughout Jarre's career, but there are also some new pieces of music the best of which is the Aero title track. An attempt is made to integrate the old and new pieces into a more or less continues piece of music with a mostly good result. After a brief opening scene, we move into the first of two pieces taken from Jarre's famous 1976 breakthrough album Oxygene. Oxygene 2 is a fantastic piece of electronic music and this version is great. Also the well-known Oxygene 4 is really nice. Jarre is very careful not to destroy these classic numbers and he wisely sticks fairly close to the original versions here. The purists will probably always prefer the original versions, but I actually enjoy these versions just as much as I enjoy the originals, if not more! Besides, the rest of the original Oxygene album was just transportation to my ears and Aero is a much more consistent album overall and thus a better place to hear these pieces.

Equinox is represented with three tracks, but the inclusion of Equinox 8 was rather unnecessary as it is nothing more than a brief interlude that distracts more than it does provide a nice transition. I cannot tell you how these pieces compare to the original versions as I have never heard the original Equinox album, but I do enjoy this version of Equinox 4 which is very much in the tradition of Oxygene 4. Last Rendez-Vous, on the other hand, is a slightly dull jazzy piece.

With a running time of well over an hour, I feel that this album is slightly too long for its own good. Some of the interludes seem unnecessary to me and sometimes they even disrupt the flow of the album rather than tying the pieces together as was presumably the main intention. However, this is still a very nice collection of electronic pieces and from my point of view this is all the Jean Michel Jarre you ever need and more! As I pointed out, I have not heard all of the albums on which these pieces were originally released so I cannot say if this really is the best of Jean Michel Jarre, but it probably works well as an introduction to the artist. Out of the albums I have heard from Jarre, this one is certainly my favourite. Needless to say this is by no means Prog Rock, but it will probably appeal to many fans of progressive music.

The album also comes with a DVD with surround sound mixes of all the tracks and apparently some sparse visual contents as well. I have, however, only heard this album through Spotify so I cannot comment of the DVD.

Recommended, but hardly essential for all Prog fans

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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