New Music From Jean-Michel Jarre – Amazônia

Electronic music pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre has released a new album, the 52-minute musical score for Amazônia, a new exhibit by photographer and filmmaker Sebastião Salgado for the Philharmonic Paris.

Amazônia is an immersive exhibition, focusing on the Brazilian Amazon. It features more than 200 photographs and other media by Salgado.

Jarre created a soundscape to accompany the exhibit that uses a blend of electronic and orchestral instruments, along with natural sounds.

“I wanted to avoid the ethnomusicological approach or creating background music. In the Amazonian forest, there is the dimension of nomadism; moving from one place to another, from darkness to light, from a gentle quietude to a latent threat, moving forward leaving reality behind to sink into the power of rites and dreams,” says Jarre.

“I built this music like a toolbox, made up of different sound objects, like a wandering through organic, natural, ethnic, orchestral and electronic elements, which would only pass by like in a forest that we would cross and leave behind us, temporary vestiges of a time and a space without end.”

Jean-Michel Jarre

For the Amazônia project, Jarre collaborated with the scientific team of the Museum of Ethnography of Geneva (MEG) to restore as closely as possible the sound identity of the forest and the people who inhabit it.

Jarre explains, “To represent the eternal human presence in this great green ocean, I selected incomparable sound material from the precious archives of the Museum of Ethnography in Geneva,” explains Jarre. “I composed ‘Amazonia’ in one go, day and night, in front of these photos scrolling in a loop in front of me, immersing myself in this immensity, familiar and mysterious, serene and disturbing, powerful and vulnerable.”

The Amazônia exhibition opens at the Philharmonie de Paris on May 20 and will then tour several cities around the world from Paris to São Paulo, via Rio de Janeiro, Rome and London. It features over 200 photographs, as well as films including testimonials from indigenous personalities on the need to save their culture and environment.

Jean-Michel Jarre’s Amazônia is available a variety of formats, including CD & vinyl, 5.1. Surround Sound and a special binaural version, which is available as a digital download.

The binaural version is mixed to provide the listener with an immersive sound experience. Whereas stereo sound delivers a directive left-ear/right-ear sound, binaural audio, when listened to on regular headphones, creates a 3D surround sound experience. Amazônia binaural was mixed so that the listener feels right in the heart of the forest.

Here’s a comparison of the stereo & binaural mixes:

15 thoughts on “New Music From Jean-Michel Jarre – Amazônia

  1. Well, that actually sounds a bit more like the old Jarre, which is nice.
    I’m guessing “binaural” is just a fancy word for “mixed for headphones”, or is there something else to it? It also seems to mean that it’s louder 🙂

    1. “Dummy Head” recording (1933). Fished out again in 1973 (“Kunstkopf-Stereofonie”). And now again in 2020 (UDO).
      New wine in old bottles…

      1. It should work with “in ear” headphones. But it doesn’t. Because the human hearing locating ability is trained since birth in dependence of the dimensions of the own head and the form of the auricles and the auditory canal. Our brain learned the small reflections and interferences caused by these to locate a signal and is very sensible to the smallest differences.

      2. Any stereo headphones ? will work fine for binaural tones. Studio monitors are preferred so you can really feel immersed in the increased stereo spread. Lower volumes are more effective.
        A binaural beat is an auditory illusion perceived when two different pure-tone sine waves, both with frequencies lower than 1500 Hz, with less than a 40 Hz difference between them, are presented to a listener dichotically (one through each ear).
        Binaural-beat perception originates in the inferior colliculus of the midbrain and the superior olivary complex of the brainstem, where auditory signals from each ear are integrated and precipitate electrical impulses along neural pathways through the reticular formation up the midbrain to the thalamus, auditory cortex, and other cortical regions.

  2. For me, the “binaural” examples just sound louder and have more stereo-spread – but still “in the head”.
    And there are some very annoying frequencies in the examples…

  3. I don’t like that comparison video either. The full binaural tracks sound considerably better when just listened to straight through rather than back and forth. Jarre has uploaded all the binaural tracks to his official youtube channel so you can check them out there.

  4. > The film includes testimonials from indigenous
    > personalities on the need to save their culture
    > and environment.

    They are fighting for their lives right now…

    A surge in patients with covid-19 exhausted hospital supplies of oxygen in the region’s capital of Manaus, forcing friends and families of patients to race to private suppliers. Queuing for hours in the heat and torrential downpours, they are desperate to buy a $70 (£51; €58) cylinder that could turn out to be a lifesaver. Some patients are being airlifted to other states where beds are available. But capacity is limited, so many in Manaus—where the crisis extends well beyond the hospital walls—are dying of asphyxiation. Circumstances were so bleak oxygen tankers were rushed over the border from Venezuela, the economically collapsed nation next door, with its leader, Nicolás Maduro, decrying what he called “Jair Bolsonaro’s public health disaster”.
    https://www.bmj.com/content/372/bmj.n394

    LOL, one dictator–Maduro–lectures another one, Bolsonaro. Crazy times.

  5. Used to love Jarre’s music but quite frankly his style didn’t evolve these past few decades and this just sounds like an old 80s track. I’m sure there are folk who like that and I respect the fact but with so much new technology to create a wider variety of sounds, he just never progressed. Take Martin Gore as an example, he totally embraced eurorack and created some incredible music. Jarre just sounds old fashioned now.

    1. > Take Martin Gore as an example

      Wrong! (sic) After the departure of Alan Wilder DM wasn´t the same anymore. “Songs of Faith and Devotion” was peak DM. After that meh.

    2. His recent output from last decades definitely sounds dated in a bad way but I was pleasantly surprised by Amazônia. It doesn’t break any new ground (I guess dated in a good way?), but there aren’t any cheesy moments and the style and tone is quite subtle and atmospheric, very tastefully done. Enjoyed it a lot on a good set of heaphones, solid ambient album.

      1. @Taavi

        “His recent output from last decades definitely sounds dated”

        That’s a dated way to look at music.
        60s songs;70s fusion, prog, punk; 80s synth pop; 90s Trance DrumNBass Techno ChillOut ;
        All have a special place in music.

        “there aren’t any cheesy moments”

        Whereas most electronic musicians want to be taken oh so seriously desperate even,
        JmJ has a sense of humour.
        JmJ realises life has plenty “cheesy” humorous moments.
        That’s why JmJ albums are a journey including “cheesy” moments.
        Remember a Master always laughs at herself himself.
        It’s the student that wants to be taken oh so seriously without humour.

    3. @Room

      Here’s JmJ on Eurorack Erica Synths music from16min05
      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FlK4IT2xKXU

      “Take Martin Gore as an example, he totally embraced eurorack and created some incredible music.”
      I wouldn’t call it incredible. Where Martin Gore shows how “experimental” he is
      JmJ incorporates such “experimental” as a minor part in a song : this is a lot harder
      JmJ has no need to show how “experimental” he is. It’s same as a Master doesn’t need to impress anyone.

      “Jarre just sounds old fashioned now.”
      What’s is fashion. Why are people so fickle to sway with the winds of fashion?

      “his style didn’t evolve”
      You could say same about Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Led Zeplin, Metallica, Prince, Rolling Stones
      Every Major musician has a style they stick with, this is what makes their style unique.

  6. for the binaural version he might have used a binaural renderer you can get for many DAWs. These use standardized HRTFs, so it should work for many people, but not for all. Idealy you listen to it with headphones with a very neutral frequency response. Open Over-Ear-Models are preferable.

Leave a Reply