Thursday, May 26, 2005
One of the frustrating things about being a devotee of Jean-Michel Jarre is coming up against a generic prejudice against instrumental or electronic music. Too much of it sounds like widdly, droning techno-boffin crap, you might say, and hell, there's enough out there to suggest you are probably right some of the time. But this kind of stuff has been going on since the 60s, even with bands like the Beatles and Pink Floyd, who started playing around with primitive synthesizers and sequencers and tape loops well before the advent of transistors and computers. So it's not exactly new, even if "new age" is what people often call this music. Jarre at least has the merit of having a classical musical background, and so more often than not he's composed something that has structure and texture. Anyway, to "Calypso": this is a steel band wig-out. Steel bands might not be to your taste, but Jarre's upped the ante here and got them to play at 100 mph. The band swaps the lead back and forth with the synthesizers until before you know it, you're dancing. This is holiday music, pure and simple, it's like letting a Caribbean carnival into your sitting room for nine minutes.