Album Review: The Foggy Jefferson Orchestra – Solstices

The Foggy Jefferson Orchestra are a collective of electro musicians based in Paris, France. Their new album Solstices was created with a single mission: to create a collection of tracks in the style of French electro pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre. Here’s my track by track rundown.

By Graeme Smith

Feature photo by The Foggy Jefferson Orchestra

The orchestra has joined forces with a menagerie of artists to create Solstices. First up is AstroVoyager who, along with Marboss, originated the album’s concept. Together they set the tone with Solstinox, a journey of severe synths and twinkling overtones that Jarre himself would be proud of. There’s a sense of a futuristic dystopia where a grassroots uprising is about to take place. As the track progresses its optimism grows. It’s a wonderful start.

Liquid Harmony comes next, a collaboration with Frédéric Mauerhofer. It’s somewhat gloomier than Solstinox, with low, sweeping chords and a sense of unease. What isn’t lost is the atmosphere and narrative. It’s followed by Aquatica. The team up is with Bastien Lartigue for this underwater caper, complete with popping bubbles and a driving, playful melody.

History features Fabien Labonde and feels airy. The beat canters along while the synths are bright. A twist halfway through brings a moment of quirkiness. It’s an early highlight. Queen Oxi with Justin Verts then slows things down, with long, meaningful chords and a hypnotic melody. Again, not is all as it seems as, after an elongated intro, it slides comfortably into power pop.

Rêvologie is suitably dreamy. United Simesky Institutes provides the collab, bringing a punchy arrangement and synthesised ocean waves. Hybrid Takeoff with Glenn Main pumps up the tempo and luxuriates in science fiction before Pluton rounds off the first half of the album. Michael Ecalle brings a sense of the otherworldly to the party with a layered composition.

Rain introduces Laurent Drugmand. Complete with ambient rain sounds, it’s a moody, gloomy piece of downbeat electronica that explodes into life during its second minute. Equality with Destillat goes a step further with a thunderous start and a steady groove. Médiomatrice is Marboss’s time to shine. A textured piece, it injects pace and a sense of wonder into proceedings. It’s another highlight.

Analog Session is the album’s most ambitious track. It’s over eight minutes long and The Foggy Jefferson Orchestra and MoonSatellite take us on a nuanced journey. It’s a track that slowly builds before hitting an entrancing groove. Equitimegnetic continues the trance but Christophe Martin De Montagu brings brighter notes and traces of robotic vocals.

The album reaches its last leg with Moon Rise, a softly ambient collaboration with Phillipe. Etronik with Florent Ainardi follows, keeping things soft but introducing some texture in the form of keys and percussion. Future Last (Oxynox Field Mix) closes the album. Featuring Sébastian Aout, it feels a suitable closer. Revelling in its Jarre-esqueness, it elevates us to another plane of existence.

Solstices is obviously a must-listen for fans of Jean-Michel Jarre but even if you’re not familiar with him, then you’ll likely to get a lot of joy from it. Carve out some time in a busy day to close your eyes and get lost in its world. You can listen to the whole collection below.