829 125-1 Y-1 Rendez-Vous
Produced by Jean-Michel Jarre
Released on April 1986
Find it at GEMM
829 125-1 Y-1 cover
[high resolution photo]

R endez-Vous took on an added poignancy after the Challenger space shuttle tragedy of January 28th 1986, which killed the seven astronauts aboard including Ron McNair. Jean-Michel had written “Ron’s Piece” for McNair (who played the saxophone) to perform on the space shuttle, with the hope of breaking that last of musical barriers, space. (It would have become the first musical piece played and recorded in space.) Instead, the Fates had a different plan in store, and “Ron’s Piece” turned into a eulogy for the lost astronauts, as in a larger sense the entire Rendez-Vous album did. Not that this was written with the shuttle disaster in mind -- how could it have been? -- but the ear does play funny tricks. What emerges is a story of Greek proportions, Odysseus in Space if you will, where man breaks free from the gods’ control to conquer the stars, his birthright. The First Rendez-Vous finds the gods descending to our world in a sparkling beam of light, space music tinged with a sympathetic sadness for the human condition. A full-blown dramatic dialogue ensues in the Second Rendez-Vous, gods as judge and jury jostle our Odysseus and his shipmates in the starry seas of the cosmos. The Third Rendez-Vous is the most mournful, lamenting those lost in the preceding tempest. Tides turn on the celebratory Fourth Rendez-Vous, which served as the album’s single in a slightly edited version; it has a nice melody but is likely to strike modern ears as a musical bauble. A celestial waltz follows on Fifth Rendez-Vous, as mankind pierces into the deepness of space, leaving the known world (and its gods) behind. The inevitable “intermission” appears here in the form of a galactic radio being tuned to different stations, which is thought-provoking rather than comic, and quickly gives way to the third part where our explorers embark for undiscovered country. (Both the Second and Fifth Rendez-Vous were broken into three parts, lending the work a sort of symphonic balance.) The closing Last Rendez-Vous (subtitled “Ron’s Piece”) is a heartbreaking postscript, a sad love song to space underscored by a slow heartbeat, with saxophonist Pierre Gossez playing the part first written for McNair. Jarre did perform Rendez-Vous for a concert in Houston, as was originally planned, but the actual rendezvous itself would have to wait for another time, another place. The album marks one of Jarre’s most substantive efforts to date, continuing to engage additional musicians in the arrangements while conjuring the kind of dramatic action that made Vangelis’ Heaven And Hell a triumph of electronic music. I wouldn’t put it on so high a pedestal; rather, this is space rock that shares the same rarefied aether as Oxygene.

829 125-1 back cover
829 125-1 back cover


  1. FIRST RENDEZ-VOUS    2:55
  2. SECOND RENDEZ-VOUS    10:53
  3. THIRD RENDEZ-VOUS    3:30
  5. FIFTH RENDEZ-VOUS    8:04

    Composed by Jean-Michel Jarre


JEAN-MICHEL JARRE -- Seiko DS 250, Synthex, moog, Roland JX BP, Fairlight, Emulator II, AKS, Lynn 9000, Laser Harp, RMI, Seiko DS 320, OBX, DX 100, Matrisequencer, TR 808, Prophet, Casio CZ 5000, Roland JX 8P
MICHEL GEISS -- ARP 2600, Eminent, special programming of matrisequencer, Matrisequencer, TR 808, engineer, mixing, artistic contribution
The Choir of Radio France -- choir
Sylvain Durand -- choir direction
Pierre Gossez -- saxophone
Joe Hammer -- Drumulator, percussions
David Jarre -- Baby Korg personal keyboard
Dominique Perrier -- Memory moog,
Claude Ermelin -- engineer, mixing
Denis Vanzetto -- engineer, mixing
Michel Granger -- record cover
Paul Cox -- back cover photo

FRA 1986 Polydor LP 826 864  
UK April 1986 Polydor LP/CD/CS POLH27  
US April 1986 Polydor/Dreyfus LP/CD/CS 829 125  
CAN 1986 Polydor LP JAR6  
FRA March 1, 1994 Dreyfus CD 36146  


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