Jean-Michel Jarre – ‘Electronica 2: The Heart of Noise’

Coming seven months after Electronica 1: The Time Machine, the second volume of the 67-year-old musician’s ambitious collaboration project, six years in the making and featuring duets with some of the biggest names in popular music, is out now.

Jean-Michel Jarre chooses interesting and like-minded collaborators

Getting things underway on studio album number 15 is “The Heart of Noise, Pt. 1,” which sees Jarre team up with fellow Frenchman and purveyor of electronica, Rone. Part 2, which follows, is even better. “Brick England” with special guests The Pet Shop Boys is another winner.

There is something Kate Bush-like about the vocals of Julia Holter on “These Creatures,” while in stark contrast to her ethereal delivery is the uptempo “As One,” a dancefloor filler that samples Primal Scream’s “Come Together.” Two songs on, German composer Hans Zimmer‘s contribution (on “Electrees”) is suitably majestic.

Jean-Michel Jarre enlists the help of Edward Snowden

Perhaps the most talked about pairing on the album since its release earlier this month has been “Exit,” the techno duet with Edward Snowden, where the former CIA employee and NSA whistleblower provides a voiceover airing his views on digital privacy.

Electronica 2: Hit and Miss

“What You Want” slows the groove down and once again highlights the wide array of artists Jarre approached for Electronica. Canadian rapper Peaches is the guest on this so-so tune. A standout moment for me on a CD that does contain some ‘filler’ is “Switch On Leon,” co-written by The Orb (Alex Paterson and Thomas Fehlmann).

Further tracks of note include “Circus” (with Siriusmo), “Why This, Why That and Why” (with Yello), “Falling Down” (a solo number) and Cyndi Lauper’s chance to shine: “Swipe to the Right.” All in all, a very valiant effort from the popular record breaker – and one that should be applauded – but I think as far as total packages go, I prefer Electronica 1: The Time Machine.

Electronica 2: The Heart of Noise is out now.

For more information on Jean-Michel Jarre, visit his official website.