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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

JEAN MICHEL JARRE: Rendez-Vous (1986)

“Rendez-vous is yet an excellent album victim of a bad timing and which is the big forgotten in the career of Jean-Michel Jarre”

1 First Rendez-Vous 2:54 2 Second Rendez-Vous 10:55 3 Third Rendez-Vous 3:31 4 Fourth Rendez-Vous 3:57 5 Fifth Rendez-Vous 7:41 6 Last Rendez-Vous 6:04

Disques Dreyfus 826 864-2

(CD/Spotify 35:03) (V.F.)

(Orchestral and Cosmic E-Rock)

After the incredible Zoolook, Jean-Michel Jarre takes a step back to return to an analog style on digital. If at that time the effect was pompous and pharaonic, it remains nonetheless that RENDEZ-VOUS has become an album that has suffered from the erosion of time. Like what the analog doesn't get falsify! This 7th studio album by the French synthesist is barely reaching the bar of 34 minutes, but on the other hand the music lives of these atmospheres stylized by evocative and historical collages as well as orchestral arrangements which confused more than one.

Vaporous pulsations initiate the breaths of First Rendez-Vous. Notes float with a discreet harmony on an atonic movement. Synth strata interweave their embraces with mellotron layers with violin essences, oscillating and cradling in a glacial nothingness with all the placid serenity of a dark cosmos. This First Rendez-Vous is only a staging to introduce the epic track of RENDEZ-VOUS, Second Rendez-Vous where synths with rotating sirens and acute shake down this cold sea of space tranquility. A second identical line takes shape and contributes to this rich two-headed movement which progresses with heaviness on good orchestral arrangements and intense young choruses, adding an austere dimension to an explosive music. The music adopts a processional march with sound pendulums swaying in the rage of orchestrations whose military jerks leave their heavy imprints in my ears. At the height of his art, Jean-Michel Jarre twirls his synthesizer blades among analog effects that decorated the cosmic ambiances of his first 3 albums. He makes them spin through furious solos, musical corridors with odd identities and his famous laser harp that is measuring to dilapidated string of violins. This title was compressed dynamite and a classic to add to the coffers of the musician Lyonnais. It's the laser harp that initiates Third Rendez-Vous. Its first note extends a radius of buzzing. One by one they fall, and their resonances stimulate a phantom melody of an implacable sadness.

Fourth Rendez-Vous is the first title of Face B, and this is the electronic anthem of this summer of '86. The music begins with distant sound effects of eructing locust tones. Great, these effects are getting melt on percussions and delicious effects of rattlesnakes' tones. Their clicks of steel support a slightly pulsating beat that is growing on this line of ascensional rhythm. The synths scatter good harmonies that embrace this catchy rhythmic structure, weaving even a fascinating symbiosis that makes all the charm of Fourth Rendez-Vous. A little bit of ambiences' powder and the rhythm comes back with the shouts of melodious sirens that I heard earlier and this candid melody that turns into loops in my memories. This is great and very catchy. Agree or not, Fourth Rendez-Vous has marked the global market with this incestuous mix of naive and innocent candy-rhymes and rhythms adorn by an amazing percussion's game and stunning percussive effects. It's a title that we don't count the remixes and the covers, and which is part of the great classics of Jean-Michel Jarre. In the same way as Oxygene IV. Fifth Rendez-Vous turns like a fascinating carousel filled with lines zigzagging like drunken souls scented by chants from ghosts. A chorus of neurotics and semi-complete harmonies revolve in a beautiful collage of samplings from one of Jean-Michel Jarre's first records, Music for Supermarket. The music dives into a more ambient-cosmic phase, allied to a kind of musical schizophrenia that shows all the ingenuity of the French synthesist to shape fragmented melodies and rhythms in structures that seem improvised. Last Rendez-Vous is a title that was to mark the story and has marked it, but in a very different way. Dedicated to the astronaut Ronald McNair, it was to be the first piece of music to be recorded between Cosmos and Earth. Unfortunately, the Challenger shuttle exploded, relegating this ambition project in oblivion. It's a nice little touching title, imbued with a sweet and bitter melancholy whose sweet rhythm is pulsating on the beats of life and ambiences breathe through a saxophone blowing a melody coated with a synth and its erased layers.

The problem with RENDEZ-VOUS is that it appeared after Zoolook. The philharmonic approach seems to be the next step of Jean-Michel Jarre. Except that the contrast between these two albums, both in terms of sound and artistic creativity, is too striking to avoid the striking term! It's not bad as such, it's a question of timing! Because after Zoolook, RENDEZ-VOUS seems anemic and atonic whereas it's quite the opposite. Rich, melodious and enveloping! This is an excellent album, adorned with a mega-hit that unfortunately still struggles against the grip of the years. Too bad, because it's the big forgotten in the career of the Lyons-based musician.

Sylvain Lupari (November 18th, 2006) *****

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