Jean Michel Jarre

Sessions 2000

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Sessions 2000, Jean-Michel Jarre's first Stateside release after a maddening drought, is essentially a year in the life of the mind of the master who wowed the world with his seminal "Oxygene" suite in 1976. Jazzier than early fans would probably expect, but as interesting as he's always been, Jarre's six-track view of a year is energetic, invigorating, and after-dinner-drink smooth.

Eschewing song titles for a deceptively simpler system of dates, Jarre has both taken away outside meaning from each song, but has also imbued each one with the sensory synapse each season brings. So, then, "January 24" is shot through with the ambience of ice and wind, becoming a chilled "Auld Lang Syne" of sorts, leaving "March 23" to open up sunnier vibes with jazz trumpet and down beat synths. And it just goes on from there across the rest of the year, as "May 1" gives way to the sleepy vibe of midsummer's "June 21," before "December 17" eventually comes round full circle to connect the end to the beginning. The use of breaks and spaces to define moments of sound and moments in time are things we've come to expect from Jarre, and Sessions 2000 is no exception; his formula is refreshed here with some surprising musical twists and turns, including a pedal steel guitar.

Jarre is, for most, an acquired taste, so those not accustomed to the musician's musings, or not in love with instrumental experiments in melodic fusion probably won't get it -- at all. But that's fine, because that just leaves more glee for the rest of us.

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