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4.4 out of 5 stars34
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 7 June 2012
Chronologie is an excellent album. It is an utterly enjoyable sonic ride in a classical Jean Michel Jarre style. The album is very melodic, has rich, interesting textures and sounds and spans various music styles, such as pop, dance, classical music and even hip-hop tinges, at the same time remaining a pure electronic, synthesizer-based piece of music.

With Chronologie Jarre continues his typical style of making music, more coherent and moody, based on open compositions flowing seamlessly into each other, in the vein of Oxygene or Equinoxe (rather than Zoolook for example).

This time the subject matter of the album is time. Jarre composed Chronologie most probably being inspired by Stephen Hawkins' `A Brief History of Time", which even receives its credits in the booklet. The somber beginning of part 1 makes you think of the dawn of time, some prehistoric moment of history, when God created the heaven and the Earth, and where it all began. The music then surges enthusiastically as if things were falling into place and the creation of the world started to take its final, recognizable shape. With each following part a new universe is discovered. The up-tempo pseudo-classical Part 2 flows into a new-agey and dreamy part 3. This is where the first part of the LP stops.

Part 4 is a dream pop/dance classic, with its catchy melody and rich textures. (I bet there would be no Robert Miles without Jarre!) Part 5 recalls the melody of the previous part with a definitely new age ambient touch, before reaching its own climax. The music meanders for a while before abruptly crashing into the thumping bass line of part 6. This piece does not have a typical melodic hook, but with the throbbing bass line and the infectious dance beat it is certainly one of the stand-out tracks. Part 7 (the only weaker moment on the album) is a short transition piece which paves the way for the grand closing of the album with part 8. Here we have marvelous church organs opening the show and leading to a hip-hop-based core. The music then fades and we hear Jarre counting down until zero, when time comes back to its pristine, ancient beginning. Again we hear the sounds known from the first seconds of the album which finish off the work, and we know the cycle of time has been completed. The ending however invites us to push "play" again and to go on this journey through time over again.

My only peeve is that this great album is only 42 minutes long...
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VINE VOICEon 7 January 2015
Chronologie (note the title) was originally released in 1993 as a prelude to a sizeable European tour. It also includes variations on a theme that were recorded for watchmakers Swatch, which appeared in some of their products labelled "Une Alarme Qui Swinge". It also features the guitar work of Patrick Rondat, who JMJ had also recently produced.

The album in tone feels like a return to the more classically-styled work of his earlier career, particularly Equinoxe, to which I think it bears a big resemblance. This is no bad thing as Equinoxe is one of his very best piece of work. The similarity is especially noticeable in parts 4-6, which, like Equinoxe are very dance-oriented. It is influenced heavily by the notion of time, from watches and clocks to the work of Stephen Hawking. In many ways it's a n optimistic piece of work, ranging from the slightly portentous keyboard washes of part 1 and its echoes of the swirling particle clouds and the vastness of the early universe, through part 2 and it's classical, almost early industrial bombast, counterpointing some of the same ideas that appeared on the Revolutions album. Part 3 is mournful and keening, together with that Rondat guitar. Part 4 is the joyous lead track, with the album's leit motif plastered all over it, before leading into the industrial, consumerist drone of the factory production line in part 5. Part 6 is another highlight, with the dance beat gradually fading into a lone accordion line, before melting into the buzzing of bees and the peace of part 7. The album closes with the foot-samping celebration of part 8, redolent of dub reggae in some ways, biro finally doing out to the background hum and heartbeat that completes the album's cycle.

This remaster is not a bad effort. The sound isn't bad, though it does feel a touch compressed, and lacking the fullness of the dynamic range of the original, possibly because it has been mastered primarily for digital playback and not hi-fi use. Also, of course, we have the rather mystifying change of title. Why revert to the English version a full 22 years after release? If you don't have the album it's certainly worth the price to listen to something which was a very definite eturn to form after the comparative lull of Revolutions and Cousteau (though they too are both good albums in part)
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on 11 July 2007
Of all the Jarre albums I own this is without doubt the most played. The album is a wonder to listen too with it's dreamscape musical flow of the opening of Chrono Part 1, to the the sampled drum loops from his early works of 'Eros Machine' (the twanging of a ruler) for the thumping Chrono Part 2, the delightful Chrono Part 3, the truly awesome Chrono Part 4 with the forever whistling too end solo lead, the ambient Chrono Part 5, the foot stomping bass to Chrono Part 6, the dreamy whisps of Chrono Part 7 and finishing with the highly enjoyable Chrono Part 8, this is one catchy album that has to be played again, and again, and again. This album ranks high and sits well amoungst his earlier material such as 'Equinoxe' and 'Oxygene'.

The ony down side to the 'Chronologie' album is the ending of Part 4. Not so much the transistion between Part 4 and the start of part 5 (as already pointed out in another review) but more so the ending of the part 4 with the solo lead. The original ending was much longer and such a shame it was not included in the album release.
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on 8 September 2015
This is pointless release. It appears to have been remastered by a chimp - it's a victim of the "loudness war", having been mastered so loudly that it's practically brickwalled. The music audibly distorts in places, and one of the mastering errors that crept into the Sony re-issue in 1997 (a 'skip' in the middle of "Chronologie (Part 4)") is still present as well (it's in exactly the same place, so it's not just my disc). Even at £5.99, this is daylight robbery. A pity, as "Chronologie" is a superb album - it deserved to be treated with a lot more care. There seem to be comparable problems with all of the 2014 Sony reissues of Jarre's albums: my advice would be to give them a very wide berth and stick with the far superior 1997 editions or original versions.
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on 3 September 2002
Easily his most enjoyable album, barring perhaps Oxygene I. Perhaps the most palatable 'synth' album ever, with very little of "weirdness", of compositions like those of Kraftwerk, to spoil things and not too many of those "right, what shall I do here, then" bits in the middle like many of the other Jarre albums.
Interesting, uplifting and even toe-tapping, this one you will play again and again and again just to listen to those imaginative tunes with their intricate melodies. Buy it now!
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on 17 March 2011
very musical with some haunting melodic tunes , backed with what sounds like an orchestral choir at times but knowing jarre is probably a sample .. very accomplished in it's own right but in the context of jarre i cannot give it 5 stars because its not quite up there with Oxygene 1-13 , Equinoxe , Mag Fields and Zoolook .. but if you like jarre's music you will not be dissapointed and at £8 worth adding to your collection. grows on you.
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on 14 October 2002
One of the best of his albums. Starting with the cold, melodious Part 1, kicking you into techno-inspired gothic progressions in Part 2, Relaxing to nice choir and string music in Part 3. Part 4 is downright danceable! Part 5 is the weak point of the CD IMO. Part 6 is Philip Glass meets trance music in a very interesting and positive way. Part 7 is a little bit weak, but Part 8 is the powerful final with great electronic themes and hip-hop beats. This was the first (and last) album where Jarre used the Roland TR909 drum synthesizer (the always used techno/trance/dance drum synth) but it is great!
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on 14 May 2009
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on 11 October 2002
I know that many people will criticise me with this but I believe that Chronologie is the best Jarre album to date. The classic Part 1 starts off as if Jarre himself is conducting a huge electronic orchestra with synthesised strings dancing all over the stage and choirs empowering the entire track, the pitch bended drones which link us into the second phsae of Part 1 interlock with a higher-pitched synthesised pitch-bended sequence and the tenor's odd sung note gives this part of Part 1 a mysterious feel overall. The sound of winding down clocks and ominous bell sounds bring us into Part 2 which straight away provides us with the melody - an optimistic, full-of-life sequence with an enthusiastically sounding upbeat drum pattern. Into Part 3, and we are once again plunged into the mysterious side of things where a soprano sings a haunting melody over a spooky sounding synth bassline and harsh guitar riffs. Side 2 opens with Part 4. An uplifting bassline kicks in with a simple but enjoyable melody. This follows the usual ABACB structure (A= verse, B= chorus, C= bridge). This song is a delight to listen to and sums up the enitre album. Part 5 kicks in with a slow and ambient sequence which soon gives way to a techno-style thumper even though the tune only consists of a few notes. This soon gives way to a complex arrangement of musique concrète. Part 6 shows Jarre sticking with his roots and playing the accordion which works well over the heavily synthesised bassline. Again, the choir is brought in to give the track extra depth. Part 7 is the most experimental on the album which relies heavily on musique concrète alongwith random synth notes and harsh guitar. Part 8 opens up with an almost classical-sounding organ piece before launching again into a techno-rave thumper with a melody that always makes you smile. The countdown at the end brings us into familiar territory as the last sounds that are heard were the opening strains from Part 1 completing the cycle and showing that we have come full circle in this musical journey. A true masterpiece to be savoured for many years. Well done Jean Michel!!
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on 22 January 2010
Brilliant album. If you're into electronic / synth music from a world genius, get this album. You'll treasure it. It will no doubt bring back great memories of anyone who has seen Jean Michel-Jarre live in concert. For me it was the NIA in May '09.
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