Jean Michel Jarre

Metamorphoses

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Recorded in 2000 and not available in the United States until 2004, Metamorphoses is another of those enormous productions by the French electronic music master. Offering a cycle of songs, Jarre and his platoon of keyboards -- a wonderful meld of cutting-edge and vintage technologies -- delve into the notion of change and evolution with a remarkable efficiency despite the plethora of guest vocalists and instrumentalists. His collaborations with Laurie Anderson ("Je me souviens") and Natacha Atlas ("C'est la Vie") are wonderfully successful. The former is a staggered sequencer-driven track whose pulse varies, throbs, and wanes as the vocals are articulated in syncopated fashion in alternating cadences. The latter is an Eastern-tinged house track, where elements of disco, breakbeat, and even jungle enter and leave the mix after leaving traces of themselves on what follows their articulation. Atlas sings and wails and whispers, following sequences of broken beats and ushering in acid house pulsations as a lonesome violins caresses the proceedings and the cut breaks wide open in a frenzy of longing and increasing tempos before a trancey set of beats takes it out. Other vocalists include Lisa Jacobs ("Millions of Stars"), Dierdre Dubois ("Miss Moon"), and Veronique Bossa ("Give Me a Sign") Because of its many colors, Metamorphoses is the most adventurous recording of Jarre's in a decade, and articulates his universal language of transcultural musicality and futuristic altruism fantastically.

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