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Jean-Michel Jarre - Oxygène 3 CD (album) cover


Jean-Michel Jarre


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3.40 | 66 ratings

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4 stars First there was the masterpiece in 1976, then the followup in 1977, and now in 2016 the latest Oxygene instalment for our ears to be caressed yet again. I love how the tracks follow on as one long 3 album epic, for on this release there are tracks 14 to 20. The noteable thing about this instalment is that it does not try to be anything more than an inspired work, with many sections reminiscent of the same sounds and effects as heard on the original. The instruments are a wall of synthesizers, Korg Polyphonic Ensemble, Metasonic, Animoog, Analogs, Cognosphere, Spire, Serum, Mellotron D4000, and a swag of drum machines to present some other worldly music to mesmirise you.

It opens with a bouncy melodic rhythm and synth echoes that clearly resonate on the percussion layers. The music is very spacey and symphonic. At about ten minutes in the synth tempo quickens and a synth pad enters with wave swells as were heard on the 1976 release. It gets rather creepy with a howling ghostly sound and a low synth drone.

The atmosphere changes with some industrial sounds as are heard on the latest Gary Numan albums such as Savage or Splinter. It is a very dark sound but JMJ brings in a melodic chord progression that is pleasing to the ear. Synth layers create a wall of sound then a percussive tempo enters around the 13 minute mark. All of the tracks merge into one another as one seamless track. The music is wondrous and this is definitely a few notches above the previous Oxygene album.

Everything gets darker and a drone howls at the 17 minute mark, like an icy planetary scape. Very low synths buzz a new chord progression over this atmosphere. I love the darkness in this section. A tempo cranks up and spreads the light rays of bright synths across the icy plains. Layer upon layer of synths continue the upbeat melody and massive waves breathe in and out as they did on the closing track of the original album.

The pace slows down for a while until the spacey swooshes melt the atmosphere 26 minutes in. Bouncy synths create a quick tempo, then a beautiful melody and techno rhythm lock in. Some chord progressions are similar to the 1976 Oxygene which is pleasing. The weird crunching chords at the 32 minute mark sounds like a cathedral organ in reverse. It gets quite creepy here, with snipping scissor sounds over a stormy weather. Then a very familiar melody is heard not unlike the closing track of the 1976 release. It closes with a slow building synth wash ascending to a high register; very majestic and atmospheric.

Jean Michel Jarre has really hit on an intriguing and imaginative soundscape with this latest Oxygene and what a way to go out if this is the last in the series. It certainly delivers some outstanding instrumentals and the synth sounds are wonderful. It is a definite treat for fans of the original and one of the best releases from this masterclass composer.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |


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