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Jean-Michel Jarre - Oxygène CD (album) cover


Jean-Michel Jarre


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3.95 | 397 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars A breath of fresh air?

I can vividly remember when I heard "Oxygene" for the first time. A friend had just had a new cassette player installed in his car which not only played stereo, but had four high quality speakers attached to it. We were setting off on a drive of several hours on a dark snowy night when he chose to demonstrate how awesome his new acquisition was by playing this album at high volume for most of the journey. I was, almost literally, blown away.

"Oxygene" was strictly speaking Jean Michel Jarre's third album although it is widely assumed to be his first, his two previous releases now being collectors items. It enjoyed instant success largely on the back of "Oxygene part IV" being a massive hit single.

The album consist of 6 tracks simply named Oxygene parts 1-6. Jarre is the sole musician, his performance focusing on the multi- faceted flexibility of the synthesiser. The sound is primarily symphonic, with the synth being used to recreate strings and other orchestral sounds. These combine with spacey, futuristic lead tones and varying rhythms to create what is arguably Jarre's most adventurous and ultimately satisfying album.

The obvious comparison here is with the music of Tangerine Dream, but Jarre's modus operandi is slightly different in that his music is generally more accessible, even commercial. "Oxygene" may well be described as the pop end of electronic music, it is inoffensive to the extent that you could safely play it in any company.

While "Part IV" is undoubtedly the most memorable section, there are other parts here which will also be familiar, either in their own right or as background music and themes from TV programmes.

There is something of a paradox with this album in that it is excellent but now totally safe and unexciting. In its day, "Oxygene" was indeed a breath of fresh air.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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