Jean-Michele Jarre’s Zoolook makes use of heavy sampling (with a strong emphasis on human speech as sourced from more than 20 different languages) and digital synthesizers and drum machines throughout.
There are moments of Vangelis-like grandiosity early in the record, but it’s the truncated vocal samples and heavy use of drum machines that take center stage. I’m tempted to suggest that Zoolook may have been an influence on some of Oneohtrix Point Never’s use of clipped vocal samples on the masterful ‘Replica’ album.
The first 8 minutes of Ethnicolor is compelling and somewhat challenging until the arrival of a fairly stock-sounding beat arrives to painfully date the track.
Laurie Anderson’s feature role on Diva suffers the same fate (to a lesser degree). The intrigue of the first half is dulled by the inclusion of those same very dated drum sounds in the second half.
I understand the title track, Zoolook, was somewhat revered by the hip-hop and breakdancing scene of the 1980’s, but it does nothing for me 🤷♂️
Wooloomooloo is, by far, the piece that I wouldn’t hesitate to weave into a mix of contemporary electronic music. It has an industrial backbone, sparkling synth textures and cropped vocal snippets that all work together to invite significant tension. Wooloomooloo is a timeless piece.
Ethnicolor II is overall more palatable and interesting than its predecessor, Ethnicolor. It’s a fine ambient piece that probably rates as my second favorite track on the album (after Wooloomooloo).