Legendary producer born in Lyon Jean-Michel Jarre debuted in the 60s writing music for films and commercials after being mentored by the father of musique concrète Pierre Schaeffer and Karlheinz Stockhausen, both defining figures in the evolution of electronic music.
Jarre is a renowned bestselling artist who has sold over 80 million albums and gathered record-breaking audiences in his spectacular shows, once drawing crowds of 3 million people in just one night. But most of all, Jean-Michel Jarre is highly regarded as one of the pioneers in electronic music, taking it out of the studios and academic research labs and onto the mass audience.
In his early days, instruments like the synthesizer and the sequencer were novelties that artists adopted and adapted to their workflow without any preconceptions, motivated by the desire to experiment. Back then, playing live certain electronic music compositions was not easy since it was hard to carry all the modular equipment of that time and use it on stage. Jarre was able to kill two birds with one stone. First, he wrote very melodic themes influenced by pop music that brought those new sounds closer to a massive audience. Then, Jarre laid the foundations of today’s tech shows merging music and visual elements in perfect synchrony, thus creating an indivisible whole with the purpose of making an impact on the spectator. Jarre redefined the role of a performer who does not sing but still occupies a central space of the stage by using music devices that are a show by themselves such as the iconic laser harp or his circular light keyboard, highlights of some of his most celebrated concerts.
In conversation with electronic music journalist Philip Sherburne, Jarre will discuss his musical evolution, the way he has shortened the gap between the general public and the use of avantgarde technology in live shows, what are his current interests in terms of creative languages for sound and the ideas and collaborations behind his latest two albums.
Jean-Michel Jarre will exclusively premiere his latest show at Sónar By Night based on the two volumes of ‘Electronica: The Time Machine’.