Brian Eno Brings the Beat to Jean-Michel Jarre’s New Song ‘Epica Extension’

image2 - Credit: François Rousseau; Cecily Eno*
image2 - Credit: François Rousseau; Cecily Eno*

Celebrated French electronic artist Jean-Michel Jarre has enlisted Brian Eno’s help for a reworking of his Oxymore song, “Epica.”

“Epica Extension” boasts a bustling breakbeat as the drums drive ahead over an array of pulsing synths and a lead loop that sounds like it’s coming from some uncanny choral singer. In fact, “Epica Extension” carries a lot of the same propulsive energy as the original track, which Jarre wasn’t exactly expecting when he reached out to Eno.

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“When I started ‘Epica,’ I immediately thought that Brian Eno could be involved in this most rhythmic track of the album, thinking that he could bring his signature ‘ambient’ touch in reworking the track — another kind of oxymoron,” he said in a statement. “But he told me that he was most interested in developing rhythmic ideas these days… and here is the beautiful, ghostly, unexpected result. Thank you Brian.”

The original version of “Epica” appears on Jarre’s most recent album, Oxymore, which was released back in October. The album is largely a tribute to the late French electronic and classical composer, Pierre Henry, who died in 2017. Jarre and Henry had intended to collaborate on the former’s Grammy-nominated 2015 album, Electronica 1, though the partnership never materialized. While making Oxymore, Henry’s widow provided Jarre with some of the sounds Henry had intended to use for that collaboration.

As for Eno, he also released a new album, ForeverAndEverNoMore, last month. The album followed his 2017 LP Reflection, as well as his 2020 collaboration with his brother, Roger, Mixing Colours. It also marked Eno’s first LP to feature mostly songs with vocals in nearly 17 years.

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