04 December 2009

Interior Music - Jean Michel Jarre

Interior Music is a special edition album by Jean-Michel Jarre released in 2001 for Bang & Olufsen. It exists only in an edition of 1000 copies, which makes it slightly less exclusive than the Jaguar edition of Aerology which was only obtainable for a brief period by taking a Jaguar car for a test drive. The album contains two tracks, identical apart from vocals, both of which are almost 26 minutes long. The first, Bonjour, Hello, is a musique concrete collage of running water, rustlings and occasional, very-muted piano sounds. There is gentle birdsong later on, and sparse orchestral-sounding chords. Over the top is a constant stream of voices speaking short phrases: 'Hello', 'Bonjour', 'Vous est unique', 'You are beautiful', 'Hey, I'm looking at you!'. The second track, as mentioned earlier, is an instrumental version of the first and, since the voices seem childish and irritating to me, I feel it's the better of the two tracks.

The sentiment behind the track is plausible, if along similar lines to those awful British Telecom adverts of the nineties with Bob Hoskins, or the Nescafé ones which encouraged you to take a packet of biscuits round to the neighbours. The idea of encouraging us all to talk more or just try out being nice to each other is well-meant, but twenty-six minutes of someone saying 'You look great!' and 'I'm watching you!' feels just a little sinister. At best it comes across as some sort of manic self-improvement tape, and at worst you feel as though Bang & Olufsen are actively stalking you.

I have to report, then, that Whispers Of Life, the second track without all the self-hypnosis-esque stuff, is a delightful exercise in ambient music, and preferable by far to the first track. Bloom, a recent iPhone application from Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers produces very similar sounds, actually, or it may remind you of parts of Harold Budd's album The Room. The back of the CD, incidentally, darkly hints at the tracks being excerpts from a new album. It's currently late 2009, and a range of albums have been and gone. Whatever was planned, it appears to exist only in the form of 'Interior Music' now.

Interior Music
1. Bonjour, Hello (25:58)
2. Whispers Of Life (25.56)

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