23 November 2002
The latest offering by the master of the synthesiser, Jean Michel Jarre, aims to take you on a journey through the final year of the 20th century.
The latest offering by the master of the synthesiser, Jean Michel Jarre, aims to take you on a journey through the final year of the 20th century. Recorded for Parisian label Disques Dreyfus, it's far removed from the shiny synth classics Oxygene and Equinox that soundtracked a thousand 80s nature documentaries. The album is laced with acoustic instruments (a mix of live playing and samples) placed over a backdrop of seamless ambient electronics and soft trip hop grooves, with chilled jazzy undertones throughout.
Sessions 2000 contains 6 tracks recorded by Jarre and long term collaborator Francis Rimbert, each one named after a specific day of the year. The album opens with ''January 24th'' with a soundscape of bubbling, piano scaling and fake double bass plucking that places you in the midst of a passing rainstorm.
By ''March 23rd'', I was surprisingly mesmerised and really loving the dispersed hail of acoustic trumpeting sprayed over a lazily swaying groove, although I felt this track slightly outstayed its welcome; after 8 minutes of losing myself in the long spring grass I emerged feeling slightly hazy and unbalanced.
''May 1st'' has to be by far Jarre's finest day of the year (unfortunately the shortest track on the album) with a soft pulsing backdrop underpinning a stunning piano acoustic throughout, while the album tails off with the much more subdued end of year offering that is ''December 17th''.
The whole album left me feeling unbelievably serene, standing on the station platform in rush hour listening through headphones I felt so unusually calm and composed. It is the perfect remedy for dismissing the chaos around you, although if you need the ability to concentrate throughout your day then I suggest you file this album under the 'purely for lounge listening' category.
Reviewer: Lorna Palmer