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Jean-Michel Jarre announces Amazônia soundtrack for April

Jean-Michel Jarre in New York, May 16, 2016.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Electronic music pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre will release a new album, Amazônia, digitally through Sony Music on April 7 (the CD and vinyl versions will be released two days later on. April 9).

Amazônia is a 52-minute musical score for a new project by award-winning photographer and filmmaker Sebastião Salgado for the Philharmonic Paris. An immersive exhibition focussing on the Brazilian Amazon, featuring more than 200 photographs and other media by Salgado, who travelled the region for six years, capturing the forest, the rivers, the mountains and the people who live there, and most of the work will be seen publicly for the first time. At the heart of the exhibit is an invitation to see, hear and think about the future of biodiversity and the place of humans in the living world.

Jarre’s accompanying sound-creation is a symphonic world which will engulf visitors to the exhibit in the sounds of the forest. Using a blend of electronic and orchestral instruments with other real-life natural sounds, the score has also been recorded in binaural audio for a truly immersive experience.

“I wanted to avoid the ethnomusicological approach, or creating background music," Jarre explains. "So I conceived a sort of toolbox containing musical elements - orchestral and electronic - intended to recreate or evoke the timbre of natural sounds, to which I added sounds from the environment and finally ethnic sources (voices, songs, and instruments) from the sound archives of the Ethnography Museum of Geneva (MEG).

"I approached the Amazon with respect, in a poetic and impressionistic way. I chose the vocal and sound elements in their evocative dimension, rather than trying to be faithful to a particular ethnic group. It seemed interesting to me to fantasise the forest. It carries with it a powerful imagination; for both Westerners and Amerindians. This music also evokes a form of nomadism, as if sounds appear and disappear during a migration. It was necessary to go back to the principles of orchestration of the sounds of nature, to work from sounds which follow one another randomly, but which can compose a harmony or a dissonance. As in any symphony, the work has moments of clarity or tension.

The Amazônia exhibition opens at the Philharmonie de Paris on April 7 and will then tour several cities around the world - from Paris to São Paulo, via Rio de Janeiro, Rome and London. It features over 200 photographs, as well as films including testimonials from indigenous personalities on the need to save their culture and environment.

Exhibit locations are as follows, dates TBC:

Paris  Philharmonie de Paris
Rome Maxxi
São Paulo  SESC Pompeia
Rio de Janeiro Museu Do Amanha
London Science Museum 

Amazônia will also be available digitally in both standard and binaural versions from April 7, with CD and vinyl to follow on April 9.

Pre-order Amazônia.

Jean-Michel Jarre

(Image credit: Sony Music)

Writer and broadcaster Jerry Ewing is the Editor of Prog Magazine which he founded for Future Publishing in 2009. He grew up in Sydney and began his writing career in London for Metal Forces magazine in 1989. He has since written for Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, Stuff and Bizarre magazines, among others. He created and edited Classic Rock Magazine for Dennis Publishing in 1998 and is the author of a variety of books on both music and sport, including Wonderous Stories; A Journey Through The Landscape Of Progressive Rock, as well as sleevenotes for many major record labels. He lives in North London and happily indulges a passion for AC/DC, Chelsea Football Club and Sydney Roosters.