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Jean-Michel Jarre - Oxygène 7-13 CD (album) cover


Jean-Michel Jarre


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3.62 | 116 ratings

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3 stars As seen on PBS. That's what the sticker on the disc case said. Not "the brilliant followup to his 1976 masterpiece" or "featuring the hits Oxygene 8 and 10," but simply "as seen on PBS." It's not even clear how it appeared on PBS. Maybe it was part of a new space series (like Carl Sagan's Cosmos), maybe it was only advertised on PBS, or maybe they were giving it away during Pledge Week because they ran out of canvas tote bags. Since we can't count on stickers to do our homework for us, here's the skinny on Oxygene 7-13. It's not a followup to Oxygene so much as the slightly celestial confections Jarre has been peddling since Les Chants Magnetiques. Not groundbreaking stuff by 1997's standards, but rather the sort of new age space music that Jarre helped pioneer and TD later plied. The sounds seem a little trite for space: splashes, whooshes, and the sort of gimmicks Steve Miller was using back in the '70s. While artists like Vangelis and Tangerine Dream clearly influenced the club/house music scene, they didn't embrace it like Jean Michel Jarre. A lot of Oxygene could have come from any number of nondescript house mixers, which you might see as a case of clever adaptation or an unfortunate bit of slumming. Note that I listened to the original Oxygene and couldn't find any thematic similarities between that and this new disc. There are familiar moments, like the bossa nova beat behind the closing "Oxygene 13," but again the precedent there is Chants Magnetiques. If you enjoy Jarre when he's clubbing things up, then you may find Oxygene 7-13 to be a breath of fresh air. Or you may have already had your lungful with Revolutions. I'm not entirely comfortable with the way artists like Jarre and Tangerine Dream exhume old victories and put a new spin on past accomplishments. Twenty years on, no one was really holding their breath for a followup to Oxygene, and the pretense to a sequel may have been no more than efficacious marketing. It's certainly a pleasant ride, nearly as much fun as Optical Race, but Oxygene 7-13 is not one of the first five Jarre albums you should own.
daveconn | 3/5 |


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