Essentials & Rarities
|New from||Used from|
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
A 2 CD Box Set of some of Jarre's favorite pieces, hand selected by the Artist. Essentials includes songs from 1976 - 2000 representing a personal and musical journey honoring his relationship with Francis Dreyfus. The owner of Dreyfus Music. Rarities contains pieces created long before Oxygene, one of Jarre's best selling albums. Early examples of the way he manipulated sounds electronically and bridged the gap between electronic, classical and pop.
Top customer reviews
With that said, please do your own research and don't take my review as the sole truth.
As the review title states, you should get this release for Disc 2 ("Rarities"). Especially if you are 1) a big Jarre fan or 2) a historian or lover of early electronic music. It includes some very rare tracks from the late 1960's / early 1970's created prior to the release of Oxygene. Some of these tracks you will never find elsewhere prior to this release.
With that said, Disc 1 ("Essentials", main compilation of known Jarre tracks) is still good. And although Jarre has brought us quite a few compilations last decade, I still believe it is worth getting. Explanation to follow.
According to the source, all tracks originally recorded on analog were digitally remastered from the original analog mastering tapes. All tracks were remastered with the latest digital technology.
Most known compilations made prior to this release: "Musik aus Zeit und Raum" (1983), "The Essential Jean Michel Jarre" (1983, 1985, 2004), "Images: The Best of Jean Michel Jarre" (1991, 1997), "Aero" (2004), "The Symphonic Jean Michel Jarre" (2006), and "Greatest Hits" (2008).
Actual rating preferred: 4.5 stars for Disc 1, 5 stars for Disc 2.
Now onto the discs.
Disc 1 is generally a compilation of known tracks - However, its is quite different than those prior. Actually wouldn't consider this his "Essentials" or "Greatest Hits," but a "Mood" compilation. As Jarre mentions in the inner sleeve of the set, "The choice of tracks is a personal recollection of great moments shared together [with Francis Dreyfus] in the studio, traveling, or on the occasion of my concerts." You can somewhat sense this mood.
The track themselves (and their order of play) seem to have a more reflective focus than a flamboyant one. Additions of tracks like "Souvenir of China," "Space of Freedom," and "Gloria, Lonely Boy" really solidify this. This is noticed especially at the end of the Rendez-Vous 4 track. It's an interesting direction. To be honest, I like it.
Disc 1 includes some unusual tracks you would not find in a normal Jarre compilation. These tracks are mainly "Calypso 2" (only includes last third of the studio track, although still a good addition), "Zoolook" (not the common "Zoolooklogie", always liked this track), "Industrial Revolution 2" (interesting addition), "Gloria, Lonely Boy" (from "Metamophosis"), and "Space of Freedom" (otherwise known as "March 23rd" - the best stand alone track from "Sessions 2000"). Very good additions to Jarre's most known hits.
Okay, so what is the best bit of Disc 1? This disc appears to has the best version (so far) of Jarre's "Arpegiateur," a fan favorite. Sounds more like a non-live studio track than in previous compilations. The audience mumbling at the beginning of the track, for instance, seems to have been cleverly edited and removed. It has also been very well remastered. Worth getting.
Now onto Disc 2 (the awesome disc!).
Most of these pieces (I believe six) are from the hard-to-find record album "Deserted Palace" (1972). Happy trails finding it. A few are from the French Movie Soundtrack "Les Granges Brûlées" (1973), which were available for purchase through a Dreyfus release in 2004. A couple are from Jarre's early single release "La Cage" (1971). I doubt if you'll ever find a copy of this record (Jarre himself lost his original!). Most precious of all are ones mostly created in the late 1960's, such as "Happiness is a Sad Song" and "Hypnose."
Yes, I have heard some of these pieces before this release. So I can definitely say they sound great under the latest digital remastering. "Windswept Canyon" and "Eros Machine," for instance, seem to have a whole new depth than the pieces I was initiated by. Sure, a couple of tracks, like "Le Pays de Rose," still have some frequencies that are rather hard on the ears. But it's all good - considering how old it is!
Also included on Disc 2 are two remixes (played at the end of the album), based on the "La Cage" single and created by Vitalic in 2010. They sound okay. The Eros Machine Remix sounds better and is more true to the original in my opinion.
The cherry on top? The starting track, "Happiness Is A Sad Song." Awesome track made in 1968. We are talking 43 years ago. Never heard this prior to this release, so I'm glad to hear it remastered. Have to thank Jarre and Dreyfus on this one!
This product currently holds two discs in a cardboard sleeved case (similar to Sessions 2000 and Greatest Hits 2008 release, not plastic). The discs themselves have a cool retro vinyl appearance, complete with grooves. Has a cool, poster-like information sheet which folds out. Sheet includes pictures of photos and other items, featuring old electronics and classic album paraphernalia. Seen on both sides. Nice to look at while listening.
Overall, glad I purchased this product. A bit expensive, but worth getting a hold of - whether for early electronica buffs or fanatic Jarre collectors. Thanks for reading.