823 763-1 Zoolook
Produced by Jean-Michel Jarre
Released on November 1984
Find it at GEMM
823 763-1 cover
[high resolution scan]

I f language is a virus from outer space, then Zoolook is Jarre’s most infectious work. It’s also one of his most amazing: a digital Babel where words from over two dozen languages are cut up, stretched, distorted and fused into a fascinating hybrid of sound and music. Though Laurie Anderson, Adrian Belew and Yogi Horton are featured, Zoolook has more in common with My Life in the Bush of Ghosts than Home of the Brave. The idea with all these avant garde records is to change the way we hear (i.e., look at) music. What is music if not communication? How does it relate to speech? Can music amplify/demystify language? These are questions that Zoolook presumably asks. As an electronic composer, we can expect Jarre to come out on the side of music. Language here is half-formed, unpredictable and even comical. It’s a fuzzy communicator, clumsy compared to the articulate beats and pulses of electronica. But language is also scary and powerful, as evidenced on the opening “Ethnicolor.” Byrne and Eno reached much the same conclusion on Ghosts. What makes Zoolook different is that Jarre avoids using recognizable words. Instead this album intimates that all words emanate from the loose, interstellar matter of syllables and sounds. It’s an interesting addition to the ongoing dialogue of What is music? that artists like Anderson, Eno and Philip Glass had earlier taken up. Zoolook is also a remarkably enjoyable record of new music. The club-friendly arrangements are swift and succinct, Les Chants Magnetiques made more attractive to artists. Compared to the other Jarre albums I own, Zoolook is a picasso in a field of Flemish paintings. Zoolook, zoolisten, zoolearn.


  1. ETHNICOLOR    11:41
  2. DIVA    7:33
  3. ZOOLOOK    3:50
  4. WOOLOOMOOLOO    3:20
  6. BLAH-BLAH CAFE    3:22
  7. ETHNICOLOR II    3:52

    All songs composed by Jean-Michel Jarre


JEAN-MICHEL JARRE -- keyboards and electronic devices
Laurie Anderson -- vocals (2)
Adrian Belew -- guitars and effects
Yogi Horton -- drums
Marcus Miller -- bass
Frederic Rousseau -- additional keyboards
Ira Siegel -- additional guitars
Xavier Bellanger -- ethnologist
Alan Moulder & Maureen A. Thompson -- tape operators
Mark Fisher -- art direction
Kate Hepburn -- cover design
Fiona Doulton -- cover design assistance

UK November 1984 Polydor LP POLH-15 lyric sleeve
US/BRA November 1984 Polydor LP 823 763 lyric insert


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