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My inner nerd was being fed on a steady diet of synthesizer music those days. I was more into Vangelis, but okay, I wanted to try Jean Michel Jarre on the side. This records is for fans of his work also a bit on the side I suppose, because I never heard about it. The reception was not very good? Jarre fans out there: anybody?

Jarre is not at his best on this record. It is unclear to me what the steaming, stamping, machine like noise have to do with the theme. Maybe he wanted to express the sounds of a factory hall? Is Jarre saying that is where revolutions come from?

Wikipedia says this is his best scoring album since Oxygene, reaching number 2 position on the UK chart. But hey… this is blog about my personal experiences. Facts, pfff…

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  1. Fox

    As a Jarre fan, I find this album a bit of a mixed bag. It seems almost two albums thrown together. The four-part epic Industrial Revolution (hence the factory and machine noises) which starts off the album is absolutely brilliant, rising and falling, with an ominous choir section and a bone chilling lead synths in the latter part. The title track is catchy, mixing arabic melodies with a groovy dance rhythm and futuristic vocoder elements. But the rest never seemed to rise to that level. London Kid, a collaboration with Hank Marvin of Shadows fame, sound exactly like that: it has a nice flow, but ultimately it remains quite safe and thus boring. It’s counterpart, Tokyo Kid, suffers the same problem, but lacks structure and melody, making it very suited as background music for a SF movie set in, well, Tokyo for example, but not as much as a piece of music to listen to. Computer Weekend has more structure, but although it builds up the tension a bit, it never reaches a climax, never surprises and stays quite unremarkable. September, a tribute to murdered ANC activist Dulcie September, is again quite blant, with a children choir singing a quite irritating ‘nenenenenene’ kind of lyric. It is saved by the inspired vocals of Mireille Pombo in the second part, but most listeners will not even reach that point. The final song, The Emmigrant, is quite alright, but still quite far removed from the astonishing opening tracks. As I said, it seems to me to be two albums, where both ‘revolution’ songs show their roots, remining me of Second Rendez-vous, Etnicolor and Zoolookology, but the other songs seem an experiment in a more poppy sound, which foretell the Calypso trilogy on Waiting for Cousteau. In this way both Revolutions and WfC are kind of transition albums, experiments which ultimately lead to the succesful Chronology and Oxygene 7-13 albums. Just my 2 cents ūüėČ

    1. I am glad you spotted this, as I was curious about your reaction, this being your specialty. That vocoder sounds very much like the one they used in the first series of Battlestar Galactica. Is that a coincidence?