The Not-Metal Corner: An Electronica Pioneer


Greetings, Flushketeers!  It is Guacamole Jim, your favorite chip dip, stopping by to drop some sanitary mints into The Toilet ov Hell. Take off your denim jackets, hang up your leather bracers, and swap that mead for champagne as we listen to some decidedly un-metal music.

There is so much quality non-metal music that it was difficult to peg down who I felt would be most worthy to throw into the Toilet.  Soon, though, the answer struck me: why not begin with the world’s BIGGEST ARTIST EVER? Now, before you all come at me with cries of “The Beatles?” “Pink Floyd?” “Michael Jackson?” “Cattle Decapitation?” I need to specify that I’m making this claim based on the world’s largest concerts, not on album sales or other such statistics. The artist I bring to you has tied with Rod Stewart for the world’s largest concert, playing for 3.5 million people on Moscow’s 850th birthday. He also holds the records for 2nd, 11th, 13th, and 16th largest concerts in the world. This man, the biggest artist you may not have heard of, is the electronic pioneer Jean Michel Jarre.

A quick Wikipedia search will give anyone curious enough about this Frenchman enough information to sooth their inflamed breasts (and will also give away from where I obtained the entirety of my knowledge), but there is one very notable moment in his career that I wish to highlight. Early in the 1980s JMJ became the first western artist to perform in the post-revolution People’s Republic of China, no small mark on an already impressive résumé. The album that JMJ produced from his tour in China, Les Concerts En Chine, is the work I present to my fellow flushers. Unlike his earlier offerings, this double disk was an (almost) entirely live recording, with JMJ‘s typical programmed beats being replaced with a live drummer (utilizing an electric kit). The resulting energy is tangible in the recordings, not from the audience (western style concerts were entirely unknown to the Chinese at that time) but from JMJ and his musical cohorts. I draw your attention to one track in particular:

While this track is far from being the best cut on an almost flawless record, it demonstrates the energy of the live performance that emanates from Les Concerts En Chine. There are slower, moodier songs (“Nuit a Shanghai”; “Equinoxe, pt. 7”), goofy tracks (“La derniere rumba”), beautiful arrangements of Chinese traditional music (“Jonques de pecheurs Au Crepuscule”), music concrète (“Souvenir de Chine”), and my own personal favorite, “Arpegiateur”. Surprisingly, the more mellow tracks never seem to lose the excitement that the up-tempo material radiates so clearly; a testament to the skills of the performers.

If you’re intrigued, have never heard of Jean Michel Jarre before, and want to check him out, I highly recommend clicking the links. If you’ve heard of him before but aren’t familiar with much of his material, this is a great place to dive in. If you know him and love him, I will mail you fresh guacamole from my kitchen. If you know him and hate him, I will mail you old guacamole from my ass. Listen to the full album below!

(photo via)

Did you dig this? Take a second to support Toilet ov Hell on Patreon!
  • Metaphysical Anus

    Tangerine Dream over Jarre any day every day!

  • May I at least try the old guacamole from your ass?

    • Guacamole Jim

      I’ll mail you a sample! It’s best with those lime flavoured chips.

  • CyberneticOrganism

    Is this where we talk about synthwave too? Let’s talk about synthwave. I’ll go first.

  • I had never heard of the guy! Thanks for the write-up GJ. I’m digging on L’Louvreture right now.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      Agreed, I hear this guy’s stuff on Pandora every now and then and really dig it.

    • Guacamole Jim

      Thanks for running it!! L’overture is probably my second favourite track after Arpegiateur.

    • Guacamole Jim

      Actually, L’ouverture is another one of his songs, just slowed down a ton. Here’s the original:

  • You are not my favorite chip dip. I prefer salsa. That said, good article.

    • And here I was expecting you to be all about hummus.

      • Only when I’m trying to throw up, so never.

        • You don’t like guac OR hummus? #basic #SMH

          • Actually I have an allergy to both. Completely serious.

          • Oh. Well now I just feel bad then.

          • This really is amazing.

          • Ikr I wish it was longer, WHY ISNT IT LONGER!?

          • CyberneticOrganism


          • Xan

            Here’s a happifier (new word, copyright Lord Xan Productions):

          • Metaphysical Anus

            I feel you. Allergies man. Every spring is hell.

          • My seasonal allergies aren’t too bad but I have a fuckton of food allergies. Milk, eggs, peas, peanuts, cheese, the list goes on. Was born with them and it isn’t really a big deal to me at this point.

          • Allergic to cheese. That explains why you hate power metal.

          • Omg I hate Ramsay Bolton…

          • He might be more fucked up that joffery. Still not sure.

          • W.

            He definitely is. (Book reader master race).

          • Metaphysical Anus

            I almost died once because of peanut allergy. Every spring I have to get fucking hard medicine just to exit my house.

          • Howard Dean

            Dude, that sucks. I am sorry. That’s a lot of allergies. You just listed damn near my entire diet save for the copious amounts of beef and fish I consume.

          • I also have celiac disease, which I found out the hard way.

          • Howard Dean

            Damn! You got the lion’s share of food allergies, my friend.

          • Yea. No one knew what food allergies were when I was born either. They are much more prominent now. At this point the only thing that bugs me about it is that I fucking miss subway.

          • Don’t worry they just made the foot-long meatball marinara like $6.50. Fuck Subway.

          • Yea but every time I smell it I’m all like

          • Mother Shabubu III

            I don’t go near fish thanks to the chemicals in our oceans. Beef sits in your innards, or so they say. I’m a chicken/pork man, but I tend to try to eat more vegetarian than anything else.

          • Howard Dean

            Man, I love me some fish (even if they are filled with chemicals). Halibut, salmon, tuna, haddock, cod, and all those wonderful crustaceans… can’t get enough. It helps to live relatively close to the ocean and terrific fishing waters.

          • Mother Shabubu III

            A nice smoked salmon sashimi is da shizzzz.

            I tend to feel a lot of guilt when I eat meat, so I try to limit my intake, even if I could go for some pulled pork right now.

          • Howard Dean

            I can eat the fuck out of some salmon, tuna, red snapper, and yellowtail sashimi. Goddamn I need some sushi right now. Piles of it.

          • Xan

            I can’t get into seafood. The stench and taste makes me want to die.

          • W.

            I honestly expected you to eat nothing but bacon and eggs slathered in sweet Vermont maple syrup.

          • Mother Shabubu III

            You aren’t missing much with milk or peas. Both suck tremendous amounts of ass on their own without a million other ingredients to cover up their awfulness.

          • NeverBlack

            Same here. I feel ya, man!

          • Cock of Steele
          • Virgil the Ghost Poet

            And that is after I get to take my 3 shoots every week and my cocktail of drugs.

          • Xan

            Same here.

          • Making guac and hummus is nowhere near as culinarily technical as making salsa.

        • W.

          Are you just trying to make us hate you now?

      • CyberneticOrganism

        Good hummus = 0/5 flushes

    • have you tried the old guacamole from jim’s ass?

  • Randall Thor

    I listened to this and now I am tron.

    • Guacamole Jim

      My work here is done.

    • AdamfromAU

      Genghis Tron..?

  • Tyree

    This is awesome! 80’s synth is always a fun time.

  • Tyree

    Oh man! This is getting me pumped!

  • IronLawnmower Stuff like this is were I stand on electronic music.

    • Metaphysical Anus

      Sounds like pop industrial.

      • IronLawnmower

        Electronic music has more subgenres then metal. I didn’t think pop industrial would be feasible as a thing.

        • Metaphysical Anus

          I don’t think that it is a real thing, but it sounds like what I would call pop industrial.

  • Tyree
  • Gordön


    • Guacamole Jim

      M Shadows?

  • Mother Shabubu III

    Where’s the love for Vangelis?

  • Gorgasm

    Yob is love. Spread the Yob….all of it.

    Full album stream of Clearing Path to Ascend.

    • Tyree

      You jumped the gun man!

      • Gorgasm

        Yup, right as the new article goes up too.. lol

  • Dental_Damnation

    There isn’t enough old guacamole from the collective ass of the world that would make me listen to this hilariously bad stuff.

  • Aphex Twin > JMJ

  • George Clarke

    this is good because its not metal and stuff