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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

JEAN-MICHEL JARRE: Chronology (1993)

From the very first moments my ears have found the music of Chronology, I got hooked by its creative vision of EDM

1 Chronology (Part 1) 10:51

2 Chronology (Part 2) 6:05

3 Chronology (Part 3) 3:59

4 Chronology (Part 4) 3:59

5 Chronology (Part 5) 5:34

6 Chronology (Part 6) 3:45

7 Chronology (Part 7) 2:17

8 Chronology (Part 8) 5:33

Disques Dreyfus ‎– FDM 36152-2

(CD 42:03) (V.F.)

(Symphonic and floating EDM)

CHRONOLOGY is Jean-Michel Jarre's answer to those who thought that the master of French EM had taken an ambient music turn with the very long Waiting for Cousteau from the album of the same name, released 3 years earlier. It's at the dawn of a European mega-tour entitled Europe in Concert that CHRONOLOGY ends its maturation in studio. At the time, the French musician had also partnered with the world-renowned watchmaker Swatch for a few rings for watches entitled; Une Alarme Qui Swinge. But above all, Jean-Michel Jarre brings a touch of progressive heavy-metal to his music through the presence of guitarist Patrick Rondat. Despite a timid, not to say harsh reception from the press, CHRONOLOGY draws the essence of Revolutions and Oxygene in an EDM vision. This new musical current derived and inspired by artists like Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode and Jarre himself with his commercial hymns which have been reworked in multiple remixes. I speak for myself here; CHRONOLOGY is the only Jarre album that I liked from start to finish, from the first listen. And even today, Chronology (Part 8) gives me as much joy and shivers as when I first listened.

Jingling, exhausted beats, a leak from the musical ceiling where shimmering arpeggios flow, a line of sirens and of waves running at high speed, Chronology (Part 1) installs the anchors of an amazing album in terms of percussive effects and percussions with a vision that brings Revolutions and Equinoxe together in a sounds pot. The layers are formed and multiply in circular gliding flights where Jean-Michel doesn't have to imitate anyone in order to prove his value. Armored in the symphonic, the opening crumbles under the movements of smooth and ambient staccatos that explosions of percussions bring in chthonian depths. The apocalyptic synth pads have the air of Blade Runner by Vangelis in this title driven mainly by philharmonic intelligence. Ambient, yes! But there are emotions, dramatic explosions and fine necklaces of sequences that have come apart in music that rocks in a creative environment where rattling and whispering are part of the decor consisting of reverberations of bass and of dull voices that infiltrate a slight hint of Zoolook. The synth stretches its layers as in the elasticity of the bass. Weeping even in this panorama of whining in the cave of its opening before redirecting its axis to level 2 of the album. Before Chronology (Part 2) reaches the royalty of its dance hymn, its opening is woven in an intense dramatic moment mounted on a powerful organ and animated by wooden percussions before the rhythm takes off for what we know as being Jean-Michel Jarre's best commercial title since Rendez-Vous 4.

Chronology (Part 3) features Patrick Rondat's first guitar solos. And they are incisive! Playing mimes with a synth wave singing like a decaying ectoplasm, this guitar brings us to the big hit of this album; Chronology (Part 4). Everyone knows this title which has become the highlight of the shows on this tour. Parts 2, 4 and 8 being the most lively, the rest of the music drifts between its ambient spaces filled with the vapor of the friction of bows on violins strings, and percussive elements which click among the hearts of watches and clocks which will decorate the excessive decorations of the video portion of this tour. These atmospheric movements serve as a bulwark for rhythmic capsules, like the majestic Breakdance and its daring DJ effects in Chronology (Part 5). We stay in rhythm with Chronology (Part 6) which fluctuates very well between its dance rhythm and its phases of soaring symphonic atmospheres which have been familiar to us since Rendez-Vous. We rest our buzzing feet, our legs full of life and our hands that burn so much we used them as percussion while falling in the floating limbo of Chronology (Part 7) deviating quietly towards the fiery orchestral techno which will become an anthem of Industrial Dance Music (IDM) for years to come. The percussion here and the chak-a-chak threw me to the ground. True that the introduction had already cut my legs to the knees ...

Some liked it, others didn't! I loved it and I will share it with you in this review of an album that I constantly postpone, considering the avalanche of new albums to review that I receive weekly. There it's done! And there are always others ... So, I loved this vision of highly creative dance music in CHRONOLOGY. The atmospheres are rich in memories of the Oxygene to Rendez-Vous era, and the rhythms revive this creativity that had surprised in Revolutions and in the first part of Waiting for Cousteau. I give it a big 5 stars because since its release I listen to this album a dozen times each year with guilty pleasure and that is renewed without shame.

Sylvain Lupari (04/16/20) *****

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