Friday, May 27, 2016

Jean-Michel Jarre on The Knix Mix

Jean-Michel Jarre

There is perhaps no one more fitting to appear on a radio show devoted to European electropop than French musician, producer, and composer Jean-Michel Jarre, one of the great pioneers of electronic music.  I was beyond thrilled to get a chance to chat with Jarre about his newly released album Electronica 2:  The Heart of Noise, which I have been playing in heavy rotation on The Knix Mix since its May release.
Never one to do anything halfway, some of Jarre's four-decade long career highlights include having the best-selling ever French album, his 1976 debut Oxygène, holding the record for the largest ever audience at an outdoor venue, and being the first Western musician to be officially invited to perform in the People's Republic of China in 1981.  
In the same bigger is better vein, his two-part album project took five years to complete and features a list of 30 collaborators that reads like the Who's Who of the electronic music genre. The results were Electronica 1: The Time Machine and Electronica 2:  The Heart of Noise.  (Electronica 1 hit the airwaves in October of last year.)  Intriguingly, the project includes a few collaborators who aren't primarily known for music such as whistleblower Edward Snowden and director John Carpenter, who is known for films like Halloween but is a talented composer as well. Jarre chose people who were a source of inspiration to him over the course of his career. The list includes early pioneers in their own right like Air and Tangerine Dream (one of the late Edgar Froese's last projects) and contemporary artists like M83 and Gesafellstein. Naturally, I was quite excited that Gary Numan appears on the track "Here for You" - one of my favorites on Electronica 2. Other names plucked from the music charts during my formative years (Yes, the 80s!) that I am partial to are Vince Clarke, Pet Shop Boys, and Cyndi Lauper.
Jarre actually traveled to work with his collaborators in person rather than simply exchanging digital files by Email. Jarre is aware that creating music can be a very solitary exercise, much like a writer or a painter, and it took courage for people to welcome him into their home studios. Basically, electronic music geeks sharing their grown up toys! The result is music that blends the unique qualities of each artist with Jarre's own well-honed style.
Have a listen to the complete interview and learn more about the project, the underlying themes, and where Jarre thinks electronic music is headed in the future.  Keep up to date with upcoming news and tour information here!

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