Wednesday, September 05, 2007

363. Jean-Michel Jarre - Oxygene (1976)

Track Listing

1. Oxygene I
2. Oxygene II
3. Oxygene III
4. Oxygene IV
5. Oxygene V
6. Oxygene VI


Ok here we hit a slight slump in quite a high on albums we've been having. Don't get me wrong, I don't "hate" Jean-Michel Jarre, but I do think he was one of the least interesting people doing stuff with electronic music at the time. This is not to say he isn't being original, he is, just not my kind of original.

Jarre is infusing electronica with a poppier sensibility by giving it a distinct harmony. The music remains spacey but never as abstract as Tangerine Dream or as mechanical and industrial as Kraftwerk. This is not a problem as a concept, in fact it is quite a good concept but the result sometimes comes off as slightly tacky, this is maybe not due to Jarre himself but to the huge amount of knock-offs we have had through the years. It reminds me mainly of all those crappy early 80's shows on technology, this is the kind of music they would have on the titles.

So Jarre, original and interesting but slightly cringe-worthy in its tackiness. Still it is something worth listening to in order to see the different directions that electronica took in the late 70's. And some of the tracks are unfortunately damn catchy.

Track Highlights

1. Oxygene II
2. Oxygene IV
3. Oxygene VI
4. Oxygene I

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The track "Oxygene (Part II)" is perhaps most famously remembered for its poignant use in the Australian film, Gallipoli.

The track "Oxygene (Part IV)" was released as a single and became one of the best-known pieces of electronic music ever.

Parts of the album were used as incidental music for the original radio version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Key components of Jarre's sound included his use of the Electroharmonix Small Stone phaser on synthetic string pads provided by the Dutch-built Eminent-310 Unique organ, and liberal use of echo on various sound effects generated by the VCS3 and AKS synthesizers.

The album reached #2 in the UK charts and #78 in the US charts

Oxygene IV:

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