In a field of endlessly dull iterations of the basic rectangle, anyone who can change our expectations of an iPhone speaker deserves some attention. Enter Jean Michel Jarre, famed French electronic musician. His line of Bluetooth Jarre-branded speakers—ranging from French bulldogs to Easter-Island sized skulls—are guaranteed to make an impression.
Not all Americans will have heard of Jarre's body of work. Suffice it to say that he is extraordinarily popular in much of the world and holds multiple records for largest concert attendance.
Now that his creative efforts have turned to the humble iPod dock, the results are no less singular. The most visually striking is perhaps the Aeroskull, ranging in magnitude from smaller-than-actual-size to almost three feet tall. The grinning Yorick has speakers in his sunglasses and a rear-facing subwoofer that's sure to rattle teeth. Oh, and speaking of that, the volume controls are actually located on his incisors. The largest variant will set you back a cool €2,000.
Too morbid for you? Then check out the Aerobull. Once again inexplicably wearing sunglasses, this Frenchie stands a little larger than its real-life counterpart. Viewed up close, the craftsmanship is really quite striking.
If anthropomorphism isn't your thing, you may like the monochromatic Mondrian-esque Aeroframe. With speakers and subwoofers suspended in a cage, your sound system becomes something worth looking at as well as listening to.
Jarre's object d'art Aerosystem One is quite impressive, as well, but sadly was not on display at the IFA 2014 show floor with the rest of the lineup. However, the company's promo video delineating the production process is readily available, and oddly mesmerizing:
The Aerosystem HD, a step down from the One, was on display; but it lacked the outré charm of the skulls and dogs.
Like experimental electronic music itself, the Jarre speakers have not crossed to American shores, where our muted sensibilities and jejune design have left us with little more than the cold comfort of a Beats Pill. C'est la vie.