Jarremix. How Jean Michel Jarre introduced ravers to his music in the early ‘90s

George Palladev

Jarremix. How Jean Michel Jarre introduced ravers to his music in the early ‘90s

In 1992, it turned out that in Europe (and especially in the UK) a new independent scene of electronic music appeared. At the time, Jarre was working on Chronologie, where he came back to the sound of his first albums made in 70s while trying to add new cool features from the 90s. He was encouraged by the enormous raves and was satisfied with the position of club business on the scene. The only problem was that he wasn’t involved in this. In the two years that had passed since his previous album in 1990, when all these attempts of new musicians to do something with equipment had looked like a childish game, the overall sound of the scene had become cleaner, denser, deeper and more professional. The genres are just a convention and journalists can’t even count the attempts to give a name to musical experiments.

In 1992, the talk about progressive house started — a new subgenre with more sophisticated instrumentation. Chronologie didn’t fit this picture — it became old already during the recording, and it didn’t sound like an ironic blast from the past, but rather an attempt to pretend that old junk is the cutting edge of music. If you listen to any part of the album and compare it with Passion by Gat Decor, they are worlds apart. The 90s with its affordable equipment knocked down many avant-gardists who used to have a monopoly on truth. Yello, Space, Moroder, Jarre, Kraftwerk — they were either waiting for the wild times to pass or created works that looked pale in the background of the youthful flowerings that destroyed the glory of the giants.

The destiny of Chronologie was decided quickly: Hit singles were given at the mercy of the pioneers of the new sound and these remixes went to dancefloors and compilations of club gurus. The originals probably wouldn’t have made it to the underground — Jarre’s works for the growing scene had the aftertaste of sugary pop. This was removed by British house-techno musicians Orde Meikle and Stuart McMillan, who reproduced the sixth part of the album until it was unrecognizable, leaving only the sound of the clock.

The author was not particularly worried: “When you give something away it doesn’t belong to you anymore. Slam can use my work the way that they want. It’s fun to escape from original. I’m not considering this as part of my work. It’s a Slam record.”
But Jarre was not so generous in ‘96 when he rejected The Orb’s remix for the Oxygene single — because it being unlike the original (The Orb were not lose their way and released it as Toxygene.) Or when he removed a Laurent Garnier’s version from Jarremix in a week after it release (seemingly because of Laurent’s comments on Jarre’s opportunism and the excessive pretentiousness of his gig the day before).

The author’s fans scolded the release with the worst words because it doesn’t sound canonic. But we will listen to it.

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