Jean-Michel Jarre has composed and recorded a 52 minute musical score for ‘Amazônia’, a new project by award winning photographer and filmmaker Sebastião Salgado, for the Philharmonic Paris. The exhibition launches on April 7th and will later travel to South America, Roma and London…
‘Amazônia’ is an immersive exhibition focussing on the Brazilian Amazon, featuring more than 200 photographs and other media by Salgado. He travelled the region for six years, capturing the forest, the rivers, the mountains and the people who live there, and most of the work will be seen publicly for the first time. At the heart of the exhibit is an invitation to see, hear and think about the future of biodiversity and the place of humans in the living world.
JMJs accompanying sound-creation is a symphonic world which will engulf visitors to the exhibit in the sounds of the forest. Using a blend of electronic and orchestral instruments with other real-life natural sounds, the score has also been recorded in binaural audio, for a truly immersive experience.
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 fantasise 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. And as in any symphony, the work has moments of clarity or tension.