Jean-Michel Jarre

Jean-Michel Jarre creates symphonic soundtrack for immersive exhibition

Electronic music pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre has created a mesmerising soundtrack for ‘Amazônia’. This is an immersive exhibition by the award-winning photographer and filmmaker Sebastião Salgado. For this artistic project, Jean-Michel composed and recorded a 52-minute musical score.

‘Amazônia’ is a powerful exhibition dedicated to the Brazilian Amazon that will display more than 200 photographs and other media produced by Sebastião Salgado. To achieve these findings, the audiovisual artist travelled the region for six years, capturing the forest, the rivers, the mountains and the people. Some of these images will be seen for the first time in this immersive exhibition that serves as an invitation for deep reflection on the future of biodiversity and the place of humans in the living world. Jean-Michel’s soundtrack was created by blending the forest’s nature sounds with electronic and orchestral instrumentation. The symphonic world designed by the French artist will transport visitors to the Amazon, becoming an important part of the exhibition concept. The musical score was recorded in binaural audio to emphasize the immersive experience that Sebastião Salgado wanted to offer. Jean-Michel’s comments on the experience of creating this soundtrack are truly inspiring:

‘I wanted to avoid the ethnomusicological approach, or creating background music. 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 fantasize 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.’

This work seems to have been tailor-made for Jean-Michele. The iconic musician has several actions in the sphere of art and culture, without forgetting the main social problems. In 1993, Jean-Michele Jarre was appointed ambassador to UNESCO and has been involved in several projects for tolerance and defence of nature and the environment. To create a sonority faithful to the sounds of the forest and of nature, he actively collaborated with the scientific team of the Museum of Ethnography of Geneva (MEG).

The 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.

‘Amazônia’ by Jean-Michel Jarre will be available digitally in standard and binaural audio on April 7. The 52-minute score will also be accessible on CD and vinyl on April 9, via Sony Music Entertainment.


Image Credit: Louis Adrien Le Blay / Provided by Falcon Publicity