Contains a CD and DVD with identical track listing. DVD sound formats: DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1, Stereo. DTS and Dolby Digital tracks can be played back on DVD Video players in 5.1 surround sound. Total Running time 72 minutes.
Aero is Jean Michel Jarre's first experiment in surround sound as well as being the most respectable "best of" album in 13 years. The album features reworked versions of his golden oldies and three new pieces. The result of the new orchestration is a modern-sounding remix album, rather than a definitive greatest hits.
The album was designed and recorded in multi channel surround-sound and is therefore presented on both a CD and DVD in the same package (including Dolby Digital and DTS tracks allowing playback on a standard DVD video player in 5.1 surround sound). Sound quality is top notch as you'd expect although sometimes the transitional pieces between tracks overdo the surround effects for the sake of demonstrating the technology.
The music itself, as a collection of greatest hits tracks, is a surprising choice, presumably designed for the best 5.1 surround sound. There's no "Revolutions", "Chronologie 4", "Ethnicolor", "Calypso", "Oxygene 8" or "Hey Gagarin", for instance. We are treated to fresh, excellent reworkings of classics: "Oxygene 2", "Equinoxe 3" and "Last Rendez-vous". Aging tracks such as "Oxygene 4", "Chronologie 6", and "Rendez-vous 4" have all been brought up to date. The three new tracks recall Robert Miles and Orbital. They're good but there's a feeling they were left over from previous projects. There are too many synth presets sounding too clinical and lacklustre compared to the high standard of sounds used in Jarre's other studio albums. Moreover, there are finer unreleased tracks that could have been included.
Also included on the DVD is a visual track. A close-up of the actress Anne Parillaud's (Nikita) eyes while she listens to the music for the full 73 minutes in one take is typical of Jarre's subtle, minimalist and "non-MTV" visual style. Aero will appeal to those wanting to test their home cinema equipment and those seeking some of the greatest hits of France's electronica wizard. --Colin Neal