Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Jean-Michel Jarre at Helsinki

The doors open...

I always thought that the "computer crowd" in the 1980s perhaps listened proportionally more Jarre, Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream and Vangelis than the general population. At least in Europe. Well, who knows.

I felt a few words about the Jarre concert yesterday was in order. It was a good, entertaining show. I've never seen Jarre live, so I only knew about the massive concerts in a roundabout way, through TV shows and all.

These circular projections had a laser-like intensity.
This small scale fit Jarre well. The tracks had been transformed into faster, shorter, more trance-like versions, while the visuals were an unrelenting barrage of old-fashioned wireframe vector graphics, geometric shapes, point clouds and realtime video feeds. Jarre played a touchscreen app, a guitar and of course the laser harp, so he was not exactly sitting still behind his gear either. The recent Electronica-collaborations appear to have been helpful for renewing the setlist.

Equinoxe album art was also used for humorous effect.
The stage had been arranged into layers of semi-transparent mobile grids to which the graphics were projected. Some of the sheets were behind the stage and some on the front and sides. This, on occasions, gave a surprisingly three-dimensional feel to the stage. It worked especially well when there was a central object to look at and a cluster of moving tiny objects. (Scene demos, anyone?)

I found it, for this time at least, more interesting than Kraftwerk's recent turn to 3D material, but I can also understand the German quartet would not want their clear-cut images to be split into smithereens.

Guess what? A new Oxygène
On occasions, I felt that some old tracks that on album had good structure and progression had been reduced to almost medley-like appearances in-between altered material. This then led me to think why some tracks were not used, as they could have worked better in new form. For example, Magnetic Fields II (old track) or Téo and Téa (a more recent track) might have fit in this show almost unaltered, yet they were not played at all.

I'm also glad that although Jarre's music has benefited from the back-and-forth influence with the recent electronic music styles, the songs were not altered to the Guetta/Skrillex EDM-dubstep mould.

Sorry about the bit poor photos. I did not even think I'd get the urge to take my camera out so often.

The famous Laser Harp

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