Zoolook (studio album, 1984)

Studio album
Publication November 1984
Recording From 1982 to 84
Length 37:17
Producer Jean Michel Jarre
Label Disques Dreyfus
Notes: Human voices triggered by the early sampling techniques of the time.

You can’t describe Zoolook. No matter how hard you try. Best comment I ever read about it is that it is music from “another planet”. Still, the funk inputs into the music (namely the electric bass of Marcus Miller, the Miles Davis partner) bring it a very danceable fashion at moments. Jarre indeed brought together top musicians from New York, Yogi Horton (drums) and Adrian Belew (guitar). Jarre had already been hiring american musicians by the time he worked on Patrick Juvet’s Paris by night album (1977). On a three-year trend, Jarre and fellow frenchman Frédéric Rousseau have pushed the limits of sampling to the edge, where no Brian Eno did manage. More than twenty-five langages were used into Zoolook, blended by extensive exploration of Fairlight CM-II sampler.

Specific hits were named after the album’s name itself : “Zoolook” and “Zoolookologie”. They are twin songs based on catchy melodies. Rest of the album is most characteristic for its very eery moments, like the track Wooloomooloo, which would not be out of place on an alien spaceship conversation. First half of the record is composed with Diva (with an insane Laurie Anderson performance) and die-hard favorite Ethnicolor, a msterpiece worth the whole price of the record.

Some fans think this is Jarre’s greatest accomplishment, and feel it was worth the wait till the Music for supermarkets, which was a test drive in this category. Contemporary critics are more balanced, due to the very innovative aspect of the work, which was two years of producing unexpected sounds. Definitively likely to listen to.

  1. “Ethnicolor” – 11:40
  2. “Diva” – 7:35
  3. “Zoolook” – 3:50
  4. “Wooloomooloo” – 3:18
  5. “Zoolookologie” – 4:20
  6. “Blah-Blah Cafe” – 3:20
  7. “Ethnicolor II” – 3:53

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