Audio Mixers: Jean Michel Jarre; Joachim Garraud.
Recording information: Chateau Marmont, Los Angeles; Christophe's Studio, Paris; Datasound Studio, Zurich; Gary Numan's Studio, LA; JM Jarre's Studio, Paris; Julia Holter's Studio, LA; NightBird Studios, West Hollywood, CA; Nomad Studio, London; Nomad's Studio, West Hollywood; Paramount Studio, LA; Remote Control Studio, Santa Monica, CA; Rone's Studio Montreuil; Siriusmo's Studio, Berlin; Studio CBE, Paris; Studio PSB, Berlin; Studio PSB, London.
Photographers: Zoë Zimmerman; Stéphane Manel; Angel Ceballos; Daria Marchik; Jan Riephoff; Moritz Friedrich; Lucie Bevilacqua; Jacob Khrist; Flavien Prioreau.
Jean-Michel Jarre's two-part Electronica series finds the French synthesizer guru in full-on Santana circa Supernatural mode, collaborating with a vast array of guest musicians ranging from veterans to younger artists. The second volume, released seven months after 2015's inaugural The Time Machine, is titled The Heart of Noise in reference to Italian futurist Luigi Russolo's 1913 manifesto The Art of Noises. Jarre has a keen ear for collaborators, ranging from his '80s synth pop peers to 21st century techno artists whose work carries on the legacy of his past innovations. "Here for You" sounds exactly like what a Jarre/Gary Numan team-up should sound like, with a cruising midtempo synth pop rhythm and an unmistakably Numan-esque melody. "Brick England" is a typically anthemic Pet Shop Boys song, and Cyndi Lauper's Tinder-inspired "Swipe to the Right" is perky, neon dance-pop. The album reflects Jarre's visionary spirit, as well as that of his cohorts. The Orb (who previously remixed Jarre's iconic "Oxygène" into their 1997 single "Toxygene") mixes spoken samples from synthesizer inventors Léon Theremin and Bob Moog, as well as Theremin virtuoso Clara Rockmore, into a dense yet fluid collage, which is topped by the eerie sounds of the Theremin itself. Julia Holter makes a surprise appearance, adding her ethereal vocals to the shimmering synths of "These Creatures." Of the album's dancefloor-friendly tracks, the highlight is "Circus" (with Siriusmo), a playful, romantic take on choppy French house. The album also features "Exit," which begins as an aggressive psy-trance track before slowing down to present a chopped-up monologue from exiled whistleblower Edward Snowden that pertains to privacy and freedom of speech. "The Heart of Noise" bookends the album, with its first part (a cinematic version featuring Rone) and more dissonant second part kicking it off, and the original demo concluding the release. As with the first volume of Electronica, the second is commendable for its scope and its attempt to bridge several generations of electronic music. ~ Paul Simpson