Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Jean-Michel Jarre

Prog Related

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Jean-Michel Jarre Oxygène album cover
3.95 | 393 ratings | 44 reviews | 42% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Oxygene, Pt. 1 (7:40)
2. Oxygene, Pt. 2 (8:08)
3. Oxygene, Pt. 3 (2:54)
4. Oxygene, Pt. 4 (4:14)
5. Oxygene, Pt. 5 (10:23)
6. Oxygene, Pt. 6 (6:20)

Total Time 39:39

Line-up / Musicians

- Jean Michel Jarre / synthesizers (ARP Omni-2, AKS, VCS-3, RMI Harmonic), Mellotron, Farfisa organ, Eminent, drum programming (Korg Mini-Pops), producer

Releases information

Artwork: Michel Granger

LP Les Disques Motors - 2933 207 (1976, France)
LP Disques Dreyfus - 422 827 885-1 Y-1 (1986, US) Remastered by Jack Skinner

CD Disques Dreyfus - FDM CD-77000 (1983, France)
CD Disques Dreyfus - 824 746-2 (1991, France) Remastered by Scott Hull

Numerous reissues

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry


JEAN-MICHEL JARRE Oxygène ratings distribution

(393 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(42%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (15%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

JEAN-MICHEL JARRE Oxygène reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by soundsweird
4 stars The first time I heard this album in 1976, I realized that Jarre had simply taken the music of Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream, edited it (5-7 minutes instead of 15-20 minutes), and made it catchier and more melodic. The schtick got old after a few albums, but it sure worked for this debut. The 16-minute "suite" opening the album (tracks/parts 1 & 2) equal or surpass just about anything ever done by Schulze and Tangerine Dream (and I'm a huge fan of both). One aspect of "Oxygene" that didn't sound like either of those German acts was Jarre's liberal use of stereo effects on the second track. My progressive rock-loving buddies and I had some amazing "stereo parties" in those days (I'll spare you the details), and this album got played a lot. Admittedly, the third and fifth tracks are mediocre, but nowadays it's easy to program them out. I was lucky enough to hear him perform this and some later material in Houston in 1984, when he set up an elaborate outdoor show that turned nearby highways into parking lots and downtown buildings into backdrops for film and laser lightshows.
Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album hit on the second half of the 70's when electronic music was becoming more commercially acceptable to the masses. JMJ does a fine job with his debut album. To me this is definitely a progressive concept piece and a fine one at that.Parts 1,2, and 5 for me the most interesting longer sections of the music. Part four is instantly recognisable as the single release off Oxygene and is equally likeable. Is it comparable to some of Oldfield's or Tangerine Dreams works? Perhaps but all credit to JMJ he does retain his own flavour of individuality.This is the only album I could enjoy by the Frenchman but I highly recommend this to anyone keen on the 70's electronic music scene.
Review by FloydWright
2 stars I have a feeling that Oxygene was a groundbreaking work in its time, but let's face it: this thing is dated, and severely so. Oxygene violates one of my ultimate cardinal rules of musical success, that rule being: Never, never put all of your eggs into the synth basket; doing so very often damns your album to the fate of "period piece" instead of "timeless classic". While I'm an unabashed synth enthusiast, I still think this was overkill. That is not to deny the innovativeness of what Jarre was doing at the time, when synths had just become a respected part of music. Vintage synth and keyboard enthusiasts will certainly drool at the lineup of synths and keyboards: ARP synth, AKS synth, VCS-3 synth, RMI Harmonic Synth, Eminent, Rhythmin' Computer, even the great Farfisa Organ and the first sampler in history, the Mellotron. Unfortunately, because there is nothing else to this album, that's probably the only crowd to whom it will appeal. I myself am a vintage synth buff, and even I can hear its weakness. I guess this is really a 2.5 for its historical significance, but I don't think this compares to the albums I've given a 3 to.

The problem that often prevents this album from being truly soulful is that it's based almost totally on repeating riffs rather than solos that really let the emotions come out. It's not a problem with the technology, really. In more skilled hands, like those of PINK FLOYD's RICK WRIGHT, I have heard synthesizers from this same period sing, scream, cry, even seem to "talk". And with nothing to balance it out, all of the weaknesses of each synth emerge in glaring fashion, sometimes hiding their strengths, rather than being balanced out by traditional instruments. That's not to say there are no beautiful moments; Part II is in my mind the standout track in its second half. One synth in the background starts to reach a state of soulfulness akin to WRIGHT's work on "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", and it was the one part where I was genuinely moved. Alas, it was too faint and too short. Part IV, incidentally, is the famous song, the one heard on the first Pure Moods compilation. Part V seems to have a reference to the symphony "Bolero", and the 2nd half isn't too bad.

Still, Oxygene is very much what its title suggests: atmospheric...that is, ambient, with little substance or soul to cling to. It can be a chore to take on as a whole, because quite frankly, it's boring even when fast-moving. Parts of it overstay their welcome by quite a lot. I suggest that most people choose instead PINK FLOYD's Wish You Were Here (1975) to hear many of the same synthesizers played in harmony with more timeless instruments, and played by someone who really puts his soul into it. For something a bit more recent than Oxygene but still vintage, I suggest VANGELIS' soundtrack to Blade Runner, where he shows a similar talent to RICK WRIGHT with his ability to wring emotion out of machines.

If you are not a vintage keyboard and synth enthusiast who would have reason to be interested in this as a period piece, much better, much more timeless, and much more soulful work than this can be found. Despite the favorable reviews here, I have to warn people--this is one to be very careful about before purchasing.

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This album represents one of my first CD purchases. I still love it today with it's magical themes and dreamy moods. The exiting and spacey feeling over the album gives an impression of a mood not reached by many other artists at that time. It's a really wonderful album musically and Part 1 and Part 5 are both among my favorite Jarre tracks, and the improvement here compared to his first release, "Deserted Palace", is jarringly huge, though here he uses way more instruments and the album is extremely more professionally performed. Jean Michel Jarre is one of my absolute favourite artists, and I Have all of his albums from 1976-2004. All of them are very good but this one is one of his very best. Too bad it's only 39:45 min, cause it should have been longer. This is not very progressive sometimes, but tracks like Part 1 and 5 are both highlights for me, and definitely progressive. Part 4 is the weakest track here (and I KNOW you have heard that one before), but it's still an excellent track. 5/5.
Review by James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars By 1976 Kling Klang was well underway and "Stratosfear" was on many a speaker. Even the hairy simians of rock and roll were becoming familiar with the sound of technology as more complex and compelling synthesizer technology infiltrated all corners of the musical landscape. Yet the idea of an accesible and succesful all-synth album seemed somewhat unlikely, as the general record-buying public still tended to regard such artists as Wendy Carlos to be more of a novelty act (despite buying his/her "Switched on" albums in impressive numbers).

Enter a diminuative showman from France. Previous to this offering, Monsieur Jarre had made a respectable (if largely unrecognized) mark in songwriting and film scoring, but had also been tending to a growing obsession with electronic music. The rest is history; "Oxygene" quickly catapulted to worldwide success, assisted in no small part by Jarre's tremendous stage shows- and his Gallic good looks probably didn't hurt one bit. The influence of this album is immeasurable; Jarre stands as one of a small handful of major pioneers and inspirations for anyone who came after that made music which required circuitry.

In my opinion, "Oxygene" struggles a bit to live up to its own acclaim. It's undoubtedly a work of startling originality and enveloping atmospherics, but the sounds themselves waver between timeless and kitschy and the actual musical content is spread rather thin. Jarre couldn't quite match KRAFTWERK's quirky minimalism or OLDFIELD's musical menageries. It's understandable that a newcomer to the album, in these days of MIDI sequencing and virtual synth technology, might be a little underwhelmed; any half- decent ambient DJ can now crank out albums like this in a matter of days. As a piece of musical history, it deserves everything it is awarded- but taken on its own, it is not an entirely satisfying experience.

If you have any interest at all in electronic music, you should own this album. You may well find that you like it very much (I certainly did, when I first heard it). However, a true classic should probably have a little more musical meat on its bones, and repeated listenings of "Oxygene" do not tend to reveal any hidden depths. Jarre live is an unforgettable experience; Jarre recordings, however, aren't nearly as impressive.

Review by richardh
3 stars So JMJ has been allowed in..really?? JMJ's prog credentials are a little fuzzy to say the least.Anyway to the music.....The first peice is pleasingly built up from a understated beginning.Much like the start of life various strands come together and start to form something.Then we go into Part2 and that's when it gets going.The grandiose design is well realised.Then we get a fall off a bit on Pt3 although the last little bit suggests that something important has happened..but what exactly? I love this abstraction.Pt4 was the bit that spawned a big hit single and that video of all those Penguins (rememeber that??).Pt5 is quite a lengthy peice that dosen't seem to quite come through for me.JMJ struggles to make a statement.The final peice is very nice,nothing earth shattering.Overall this is ok but his next 2 albums were an improvement as he developed the ideas further.
Review by Sean Trane
4 stars This is not Jean-Michel Jarre's first album but actually the third but the first in this kind of Electronics Music. Groundbreaking (much like Oldfield , Schulze , tangerine dream , Brian Eno) at the time of release with the following Equinoxe (also great) JM J seemed a little late on the ball bur nevertheless broke it big especially with Oxygene 4 hitting the radios worldwide! No doubt his success was helped with the stunning sleeve artwork and the first traces of ecology (one of the lasting heritage of hippydom).

Although the music has not aged that well (well there is definitely more) , JM J's legacy to art will be remembered mostly for his one-of-a-kind concerts , as he conceptualizes " l'Art ephemere" . If his music may not last centuries , but he will be remembered and this album is Historically important.

BTW,JM J is the son of French jazz writer Jarre.

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Oxygene" is the "first" major album of Jean-Michel Jarre. The omnipresent very slow & sustained wah-wah effect applied on the intensely floating keyboards is the trademark of Jean-Michel Jarre. It definitely has similitudes with Tangerine Dream, especially the "Force Majeure" album and the Edgar Froese's "Stuntman" album. However, I would say the sequenced beat is ordinary compared to the very loud, bottom & sophisticated one provided by Chris Franke on the Tangerine Dream's albums. Plus, the sound is a bit less helium boosted like it is the case for the Tangerine Dream's albums around 1980. The atmosphere involved is all the time apocalyptic and very dramatic: it is a very serious & disturbing music. Jarre demonstrates a great capability to produce melodic patterns, not only upsetting atmospheres, a bit like Edgar Froese did. If you compare this album with the Tangerine Dream's ones, then you notice that Jarre here is a good 3 years ahead of the German band! The comparison with Klaus Schulze is inevitable: like Schulze, Jarre is sometimes linear, but it does not last for a very long time.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Review by Carl floyd fan
5 stars I really like this album as it sends me to a higher level. not so much a cosmic level like space rock or lsd influenced krautrock, more of an emotional cloud-like level. This cd is very atompherphic and is DRENCED in moogs and organs and keyboards. no guitars at all but they aren't really needed. this album is pure genius as it invokes strong feelings to those who open up.
Review by Zitro
4 stars An extremely important landmark in electronic music. Sometimes hailed as a masterpiece.

Unfortunately, track 5 is not very good in my opinion and some of the synths used sound dated. However, The synthesizer sound used in the last track is breathtaking.

The album's strongest moments are the first and last movements of the big electronic epic. These sections have EXTREMELY beautiful atmospherics with the help of synthesizers, especially Oxygene pt6 which gives great imagery of the ocean and its waves. The music in between these great movements are interesting to listen to. Track 2 is a good energetic track that unfortunately has one horrible synth sound from all the ones used. Track 3 has a slower tempo and sounds extremely similar to Eloy's keyboard work. Track 4 is another highlight of the album. It has very memorable synth lines and is a very catchy and easy- listening song that can be enjoyed at first listen. Track 5 is not bad, but it is somewhat too slow for my tastes in the first few minutes and when it gets going, it has a dated sounding synth loop that I do not like. Of course, the big highlight has to be the last track as described earlier. It is amazing since the crashing of the waves until the ... crashing of the waves! :) The main synthesizer used has a beautiful distorted sound, and the melodies played with it are superb to say the least. This song is enough to make the purchase of the album worthy.

1. Oxygene, Pt. 1 Jarre (8.5/10) 2. Oxygene, Pt. 2 Jarre (7/10) 3. Oxygene, Pt. 3 Jarre (6.5/10) 4. Oxygene, Pt. 4 Jarre (9/10) 5. Oxygene, Pt. 5 Jarre (5/10) 6. Oxygene, Pt. 6 Jarre (10/10)

My Grade : B

A must for electronic music lovers!

Review by micky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The last of my 'fabulous five' prog albums that I wanted to review. The five albums that opened my eyes when I was young to the beauty of prog. This is a hard album to review for I am not an expert of electronic prog, so take my review for what it's worth. Maybe one who is not familiar with progressive electronica might consider this as a first buy. While I love and adore this album...much of that adulation is likely sentimental, having some great memories of listening to this in the late 70's with my father and my sister.

My listening to the album is coloured by the context I put it in. Like every kid in the late 70's I was caught up, hook line and sinker in the Star Wars craze. This album, starting with Part 1, with it's misty and expansive use of pretty much every synthesizers available at time brought the expanse of the depths of space right through my fathers speakers. Music to me has alway a portal.. to places far away, to lands of imagination and fantasy and this album will take you away if you let it. Part 1. after a lengthy tour through the vastness of space is puntuated by a burst of syntheized laser fire near the 7 minute mark when then seques in Part 2 where the battle is joined in earnest. Young Micky and his dim-witted copilot of a sister would grab toy Star Wars ships and run around the living room acting our vast battles in the cold of space when listening to this. Part 1 and 2 are the centerpieces of the album for me. A lot of memories are tied up in those two parts, my sister and I still laugh about it when we listen to this album. The rest of the album is really good as well. Not being an expert again on electronic prog short of a few Tangerine Dream albums I won't try to sell it's comparative quality. However if you are looking for a nice place to start in electronic prog. You might consider starting here. This album, has held my regard and fascination for nearly 30 years. You might find something in this that you enjoy. A great lights out, and turn off your mind and just let your mind wander album. Give it 3 stars a good addition to your prog collection .. but you may come to love this album as I do.

Michael (aka Micky)

Review by russellk
3 stars JEAN-MICHEL JARRE'S 'Oxygene' is a pleasant listen, and served (along with MIKE OLDFIELD'S 'Tubular Bells) as many people's introduction to extended instrumental music.

What JARRE does well here is exploit people's love for a series of rising notes. So liberally sprinkled through the first side (and Part 2 especially), are burbling sequences of rising notes, which lifts the emotions of those listening. Also serving to boost the popularity of the record was the novelty of many of the sounds, the stereo effects (ooh, the sounds go from one speaker to another like lasers!) and the simple hooks.

For me, what makes this a memorable album is the final track. Here JARRE demonstrates he knows what musical soundscapes are all about (not surprising, given his pedigree). After lifting us up for thirty minutes, the last 'movement' washes over us with a much more complex, melancholic sound, an exellent and dramatic counterpoint to what has passed before.

No one's favourite artist, JARRE can still be found in many music collections because he was their first point of contact for extended, symphonic music. The sound itself has dated badly (synthesisers in the 1970s sounded like bees fighting in a dustbin) but it still makes pleasant background music. And, in the case of the last track, an excellent listen.

Review by progrules
4 stars When this was released in 1976 you could say this was a sensation. Synthesizers were hardly known then and certainly the way it was played by this man was really new. I was intrigued and had to buy it. What I found most enjoyable was the stereo effects that were very obvious in some of the tracks (mainly 2 and 5). This album is so original and the compositions are actually so great that I even consider 5 stars because of the masterpiece status. But I think I will be exaggerating too much then. Oxygene is at least a milestone in music history in general, it was really revolutionary in 1976. So because of that and because it's so special (far better than what he has ever done since) I think I will give it 4, well deserved. Unbelievable that this artist is sometimes called the predecessor of the recent dance DJ's. I think that's an insult for JMJ.
Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "Oxygene" is without a doubt a milestone of electronic popular music. At the time of realease it was very original, technically perfectuated and probably the most commercial work of this kind of music at the time, along with Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" or TD's "Stratosphear". All compositions, or sections, are very melodic with ambient, etherial/space sensation so it is no wonder that this music served as perfect soundtrack to many popular documentary films of the era. This is a definite masterpiece of the synth- based electronic music.


P.A. RATING: 5/5

Review by 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.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. I do like this better than the follow-up "Equinoxe" but there are too many sections that annoy me to give this 4 stars. Lots to like to though, and as others have mentioned this album took Electronic music to the masses. By the way the album cover is amazing.

Part 1 features some sounds 2 minutes in that remind me of theremin. If you know what that sounds like then you know it's a high pitched annoying sound often used on early TV shows like "Lost In Space". This continues until about 4 1/2 minutes when some deeper sounds come in only to be replaced by waves of spacey sounds that wash in and out.It blends into Part 2 . A synth melody breaks out before 2 minutes, then a beat after 3 minutes. Spacey winds arrive 5 1/2 minutes in and some prominant mellotron. Part 3 is my favourite. It's darker, even a little haunting. Theremin-like sounds a minute in. It fades out 2 minutes in as waves and the sounds of birds end it.

Part 4 is my least favourite. If there were vocals here it could be an eighties pop song. I found out later that this was his hit song. Yikes. Well it is the most commercial sounding track on the album so I guess that makes sense. The melody stops late as it blends into Part 5. At first you would think you were listening to underwater sounds, until spacey waves of synths take over. Sounds like organ before 3 1/2 minutes. That pulsating beat ala TANGERINE DREAM comes in as synths play over top 7 minutes in. Waves of sound late as it blends into Part 6. A SANTANA (I kid you not) like pecussion sound comes in. Great sound 4 minutes in as the waves continue to roll in right to the end.

Good album, but I will be reaching for Klause, HELDON or TD when I want to listen to some Elctronic-Prog.

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Sit back, close your eyes, and inhale the Oxygene

This review will certainly be a brief one.

In my experiences with electronic music and especially ambient-post modern music which features only a keyboard and variations thereof the results have been incredibly mixed. Many times these kinds of albums turn out incredibly boring and not worth listening to twice. Many ambient albums are served better as background music or as coasters than as demanding music for the proghead. Jean-Michel Jarre is an artist in a similar vein to someone like Vangelis in that he relies on a giant stack of keyboard sounds to construct and layer his music and give it life, the difference is that Jean-Michel can really liven things up with a catchy beat. Many songs on this album have a very distinct melody, but all have a similar flavor. The result is a very pleasing listen that by the end of side 2 you want to flip back over to side 1 and hear all over again. None of the songs can really be taken on their own, which is a nice thing about the album, it works only as a whole and any isolated track would just not have the same effect. Coupled with its brethren, however, it becomes a very good listen.

This album will likely lose its punch with most people after a good number of listens. The music is fairly undemanding and while it certainly is complex and enjoyable it's one of those albums that get discarded as the 'next best thing' rolls around in your collection, and then you look at it and think, ''man, I should dig that out one of these days''. It's also not a great album to listen to if you're ready to get smacked by something ripe with overly demanding songs, like, say an early Genesis album, but it certainly makes for something good to put on in the background while you're trying to do something else and concentrate on it while being fed some creative juice from music. It's thinking music.

The sound of the album is pretty distinct as well. Whooshing sounds abound over top a myriad of different synth sounds and melodies, nothing is overly soft or heavy and it makes for a very neutral disc that can be enjoyed by just about anyone. The songs all run together as the entire album is basically one 6-part suite, although each track enjoys its own charms which can really only be picked out if you're tuned in dead on the album, in which case it may become fairly boring. Best listened to with one ear, I suppose.

This album is a good listen and a good album, but not an essential classic that must be owned by everyone. Electronic prog fans and people who enjoy a lot of ambiance should probably make sure they have their hands on this album very, very quickly, but for the rest of us it's just a good, pleasing listen. 3.5 skully-Earths out of 5, recommended, but don't break any bones trying to find the album.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
1 stars Should have been a single!

I should point out immediately that this type of music isn't my cup of tea at all. But I do like a couple of brief passages of this album including, of course, the famous Oxygéne Part IV. I also like parts of Part II. However, the rest of the album sounds like transportation to my ears. Endless, and rather pointless, sound-scapes that seem to go absolutely nowhere. I realize that this was a rather pioneering work, and as such Jarre was experimenting with new and different sounds. Though an interesting project, I'm afraid that the end result is very difficult to listen too.

Then there is also the issue of in what sense this is at all progressive. It is certainly not Prog in the sense of progressive Rock, so much should be clear to anyone. Experimental it is, though, and that might be enough for a weak relation to Prog to be established?

Not recommended unless you have a special interest in electronic music.

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars This is where all started for JM. Even if he released already two albums (of which one soundtrack),, "Oxygen" is the one that propelled him to the summit of the charts. Especially around here (I mean Belgium, and also France of course).

This is electronic prog at its best, with some tints of pop (like the universally known "Part IV"). When you listen to the whole of this album in a row (which is strongly recommended), there is only one feeling that prevails: great, huge, beautiful, symphonic, melodic. In one word: gorgeous, splendid (oops, that's two words?).

Even if the album is spread into six "parts", I consider it as a whole and superb interpretation. Lots of reviewers do compare this album with some Schulze or TD music but having reviewed most of their albums (which is a daunting task, believe me), I mostly see an original album full of personal touches in here.

The music displayed in "Oxygen" is less experimental than during his first two confidential works which showed a more eccentric approach and therefore this one is much more catchy and "understandable". Same impression when compared with the works of the German masters. Maybe more melodic and "warmer". But the same beauty emerges IMHHO.

The album is quite even in quality: which means pretty high almost all the way through. Part III, sounds probably weaker, but it is only due to the incredible perfection of the remaining songs.

There is still a little bit of something which prevents me to rate it with five stars as a definite masterpiece. "Oxygen" is a great album which I would rate as nine out of ten. Which means four stars. My favourite parts are the first and second one. This album is a full prog electronic piece (which means that it is much more than prog related).

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Just like Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells, Oxygene is Jean-Michel Jarre's masterpiece that will be remembered for many years to come!

These two albums aren't necessarily the individual artist's crowning achievements but they're definitely what most people will remember them for. Personally I prefer Amarok and Equinoxe over these breakthrough compositions but I by no means disregard their importance.

To me Oxygene is basically an experiment in synthesizer sound layering done right. The only downside is that although the album tracks stuck in my head the first time I heard them there isn't much to gain upon an occasional revisit. Oxygene Parts 2 & 4 are the most recognized compositions and therefore stand out as the highlights while the rest of the album offers material that complements those more intense moments by nice spacey interludes.

This Jean-Michel Jarre album may not have aged as well as I wanted it to, still it doesn't take away from the fact that it's a classic and therefore should be experienced by everyone at least once.

***** star songs: Oxygene, Pt. 2 (8:08) Oxygene, Pt. 4 (4:14)

**** star songs: Oxygene, Pt. 1 (7:40) Oxygene, Pt. 3 (2:54) Oxygene, Pt. 5 (10:23)Oxygene, Pt. 6 (6:20)

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars How to nick everybody else's ideas and get away with it big time!

Jarre's recipe is stunningly simple. Take the melodic sensibilities of Tangerine Dream's Stratosphere, add the sonic texture of Schulze and inject everything with Kraftwerk's sense for catchy synth pop. The result he achieved is magnificent: it's a warm bath of lush analogue sounds that Schulze would be proud of and it is fired with clever compositions and a sequence of catchy hooks that Kraftwork will forever regret not claiming for themselves.

While the album is listed as Prog-Related, I regard it as a progressive electronic album and will also judge it as such. The conclusion is severe. There are a lot of excellent electronic pieces here (most notably part III and VI), but most of the music doesn't move me as much as Tangerine Dream and Schulze manage to. It misses the emotionality, the spontaneity and most of all the artistic vision and originality of those artists.

The album is a good introduction to electronic music, but to get really acquainted with the best of that genre you will need to let go of the need for catchy hooks that Jarre still overuses here. It makes the overall result too poppy and obvious. Real progressive electronic music is more organic and enigmatic. By consequence it's more demanding and ultimately more rewarding. I play this album once every 3 years or so. More would make me get really bored with it.

Review by Dobermensch
5 stars Blimey! it's so difficult to write a review of an album that you've heard countless times and that has famously appeared in the film 'Galipolli 'starring Mel Gibson . Where does one start?

I know where I'd start -

Where the hell did Jean Michel Jarre get all that equipment?! I'd have given my right arm to get possession of those electronics in 1976.

I'm led to believe he'd recorded a couple of none too impressive earlier LP's. But Still... Where on earth did this spring up from? Just out of the f??????g blue like 'Nice guy Eddie' said in Reservoir Dogs? It makes no sense. Those keyboards and production values in '76 must have been gargantuan.

Tangerine Dream are obvious comparisons. But in '76 they were still intriguing and creepy ... Whereas 'Oxygene' is purely an electronic synth affair in a far more beautiful and musical way than Tangerine Dream ever were. Complete with an all round sense of accomplishment, it well and truly sounds like the finished article with no tinkering or re-edits required.

'Oxygene 6' is one of my favourite tunes of all time. Sounding reminiscent of the 'Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy' incidental music from '81. Simply Beautiful in a lying on a beach in the sun shine kind of way.

I still can't get the image of Mel Gibson copping it in the trenches of the Dardanelles though. Damn... That film spoils things...

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This was the third album for Jean-Michel Jarre. Most people think it is his first due to it's popularity. I think this is a great album. I haven't heard the first two, but I enjoy this more than anything he did after it. What JMJ does here is take what Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze were doing and make it more melodic and catchy. The end result is one of the best electronic albums of the 1970s.

Jarre uses a variety of synthesizers and organs on this album. Additionally, there is drum machines and Mellotron. No vocals. The whole album feels like one piece. I never pay attention to which part is what, but I will for this review. Pt. 1 has a great bass synth sound that starts around 4 1/2 minutes. Pt. 2 has a nice melody. The music is based around hypnotic rhythmic parts. Pt. 3 almost sounds like music you would hear in a horror movie.

Pt. 4 was a single and is one of the most well known electronic pieces from the '70s. It's probably no coincidence that it is also the best part of Oxygene. This part has great melodies. The drum machine programming is good also but now sounds a bit dated. I just love the sequencers at the end. It reminds me of lava coming down a volcano. This part must have seemed so futuristic to people who heard it in the late '70s. They would have had very little to compare it to.

Pt. 5 starts out on the more mellow end of things. Then there is some more of that great bass synth sound. Some sequencers and a nice synth solo. Pt. 6 starts with the sounds of birds and ocean waves. A drum machine pattern. Some really atmospheric string-synths later. The melodies on synths are great.

The sound and production is fantastic. The choice of keyboards and effects to modify them is really good. Nothing extremely original here but this album is more consistent than most electronic albums from this era. Highly recommended. 4 stars.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A relaxing journey into the cosmic universe.

I always loved this album and it was the only vinyl Jean Michel Jarre album I purchased in my teen years. I think I was drawn to it primariily when the Part 2 music was used so well for Australian film 'Gallipolli'. The laser boly effects and powerful melody is unforgettable, I played this part over and over along with Part 4. I also remember that Part 4 music was used for various sports themes on TV, especially boating shows or sailing footage. It works very well as a background to these images.

It takes a while to really take off and I find myself a little disconcerted with the opening section but once we get to part 2 it is an incredible soundscape. The spacey textures generated by Moog synthesizer, mellophonium, and Mellotron are phenomenal. I had never heard anything like it. The final part is way darker than I was used ot and it haunted me all those years ago.

I was also drawn in by the compelling cover image of a world half eaten away revealing the rotting skull beneath. This music had an indelible impact on me as I was into Gary Numan and Kraftwerk at the time among other electronic artists. It is a pleasure to revisit this music and it is ultimately a relaxing pleasant voyage into spacey consciousness. It is undoubtedly a masterpiece that put the name of Jean Michel Jarre into the public sphere and nothing else he did came close to this perfection.

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Oxygene' - Jean-Michel Jarre (6/10)

Along with The Beatles' "Sgt. Peppers..." and Genesis' "Invisible Touch", one of the earliest albums I can remember being exposed to was Jean-Michel Jarre's "Oxygene II". Described to me as 'space music', I find that label resonating even more with his music than I did years and years ago. Naturally, hearing the first part of this musical journey was an essential quest for me; it would give my earliest experience with electronic music some much-needed context. "Oxygene" is widely considered to be a classic of its style, a blend of synth melodies and rhythmic sequencers innovated and popularized by Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream not long before Jarre jumped on the wagon. While I found "Oxygene II" to be a well-composed, exciting adventure, something about its older brother has left an emptiness in me. Some of Jarre's musical ideas here are indeed excellent, but there is not enough consistency here to make it feel like the masterpiece it's claimed to be.

Jean-Michel Jarre's approach to electronic music feels like a streamlined Klaus Schulze. Normally, making things more concise in progressive music is a definite no-no, but it works here. Schulze's explorations of space generally involve a chunky investment of time before getting to the 'payoff', whereas Jarre attempts to achieve that atmosphere in less time. In some of his work, he certainly accomplishes that, and even on this album's opening suite (comprising the first two tracks), his talent for composition is clear. The music is almost permanently chilled, often mysterious and brooding.

"Oxygene" experiences a few moments of pure awe, usually when the compositions undergo some sort of sonic shift and climax. Even if its simply a texture that isn't heard anywhere else on the album, Jarre is a master of creating moments of brilliance. This is unfortunately not something that spans throughout the entire album. In fact, much of the album feels like blank space between payoffs. Although the sequencers are textured well, there is little variety to the core sound of "Oxygene". Although it would have been state-of-the- art for its time, the compositions of "Oxygene" often feel as if they're unsure whether to pursue atmosphere or melody. "Oxygene II" was an incredible way for me to be introduced to electronic music, but I do not feel the same connection towards the first.

Review by admireArt
4 stars Jean Michel Jarre's 1976 "OXYGENE" certainly made a huge impact on all kind of audiences non-mainstream and highly mainstream, which could account for both admirers and detractors. I remember being in central Europe around its date of release, there were few places you would not see its cover art shown. Who would have ever thought that this release will set future trends and spawn the inevitable imitators in France (the so overrated here in PA Didier Bocquet) and worldwide.

Imprisioned in this Prog/Related sub genre for releasing a couple of quiet popish, cinematic and mellow first releases, his discography is, if not directly an offspring of the Berlin school tradition, Progressive/Electronic accurate, even more nowadays where PA's P/E criteria of inclusion has somewhat oppened up its creaky doors also to the US' West Coast school branches and even a bit furthermore.

The release, as such and when, had the attribute of picking up lots of loosen pieces the 70's Progressive Electronic musicians were overlooking or missing in favour of contemporary classical electronic heights (which by the way were rarely achieved and highly deviated with the upcoming 80's drum/boxes, gadgets and stylings).

By taking away these pretentions and keeping up with what new synth-technologies and his contemporaries had to offer at the time, when it was still mainstream unpolluted, J.M.J. started his own version of electronic Cosmic music.

His was friendly yet still intelligent. Structuring a formula of pulses transfixed into lineal riffs, rhythm patterns depicting melody lines and triggering movie like laser gun sounds flying around, he approached in his, song length, compositions the unexplored emotional imprint , therefore the cold impersonal electronic music concept became personal even passionate, a tad too much here and there, yet the great sections outstand by far the few, less than perfect ones.

****4 PA stars.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Jean Michel Jarre's breakthrough album is an atmospheric and playful electronic release which proves Jarre to be a stylistically diverse and sometimes compositionally playful synthesiser wizard. The influence of preceding electronic acts (Tangerine Dream in particular) is noticeable and much of the album is in a rather ambient tradition, through it regularly transitions into somewhat more energetic passages which keep the listener's interest engaged and helps with the pacing of the piece. For those who've listened to a lot of electronic material from the era it might not stand out in the absolute top tier, but it's a very credible release from an emergent voice with promises of even better material to come.

Latest members reviews

5 stars 'Oxygen, Part I' a spatial aquatic beginning, where when water flows from a black hole at the end of its life; the sound so unique at the time, remember, apart from VANGELIS, TANGERINE DREAM or Klaus SCHULZE, it was still quite rare to have 'prog related' albums, yes that makes me laugh; look, t ... (read more)

Report this review (#2918162) | Posted by alainPP | Tuesday, April 18, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It is difficult to run if you are on a permanent state of "goosebumps". This is utterly ridiculous when I put this in my iPod I can barely remember the trail and I am in a continuum "air keyboard" state. I remember very well the way We used this LP at our parties and It is still bringing memor ... (read more)

Report this review (#1356164) | Posted by steelyhead | Wednesday, January 28, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Oxygen" has become a part of my life. Nearly 40 years now it's been made, and I regularly come back to it (Itunes helps quite a lot). I still find the sounds sharp, modern and powerful, so distinct from current sounds and current synths. A strange blend of softness, depth and mystery oozes from ... (read more)

Report this review (#988842) | Posted by Progtronic | Saturday, June 29, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Oxygen" is one of France's most famous albums, and a masterpiece of electronic music. Recorded in private studio of Jean Michel Jarre in Paris, using an 8-tracks, "Oxygen" is the most direct example of how an artist with the use of analog and digital synthesizers can simulate an orchestra. El ... (read more)

Report this review (#637804) | Posted by 1967/ 1976 | Wednesday, February 22, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars As a casual listener of JMJ I found Oxygene at my library. I alredy know Rendezvouz and Equinoxe and I like them. With Oxygene. this is a bit different as it have its ups and downs. The sound is really outdated at places and this means that the wow-factor of the album is gone. It has nice soun ... (read more)

Report this review (#412222) | Posted by FlemmingV | Sunday, March 6, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A great classic electronic album. Although the album sounded more impressive and futuristic in the 70's, I would say it has withstood the test of time very well. Regarding the comments that this release wasn't exactly the first of its kind, Jarre's style was distinctive. The six parts build around ... (read more)

Report this review (#401393) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Wednesday, February 16, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This work from the french genius Jean Michel Jarre contains lots of energie, intense, deep single, complex for the year in which it was conceived, on this album, Jarre rightly knew explore electronic music with surrealist experiments, dreamlike and environmental. In crescendo would be a good wor ... (read more)

Report this review (#242973) | Posted by Diego I | Sunday, October 4, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars THis solely synthesized album is an excellent record. From spacey cosmic psychedlia to cold rythmic beats this album hasit all. The album moves hrough a vast spectrum of moods, from mournful to cold. The album's sound is really lush and warm most of the time though. Very little percussion (elect ... (read more)

Report this review (#185489) | Posted by burtonrulez | Monday, October 13, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars One of the most famous composers of electronic 'new age' music, Jean-Michel Jarre became a surprising overnight success with the release of 'Oxygene' in 1976. Synthesiser technology was infiltrating musical genres steadily, the invention of the Moog sampler adding endless possibilities for artist ... (read more)

Report this review (#82514) | Posted by Frankingsteins | Monday, July 3, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I have to offer a review of this album simply because I've got a very interesting and special memory attached to the music. I do agree that the music has not aged particularly well, but I still go to a special place in my mind as soon as I hear any part of this album. In 1980, when I was in co ... (read more)

Report this review (#63810) | Posted by | Sunday, January 8, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This probably one of the most successful, remembered and enjoyable Jarre's efforts, standing now as one the gems of electronic music. For me, the main reason for this graciousness is the lack of experimenatl and pretentious initiatives that would cover future releases. On this record, Jean ... (read more)

Report this review (#63305) | Posted by shyman | Thursday, January 5, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This was something special when it came out back in 1976. The overall ambience, the spacey sound of the electronic synthesisers, it was one along with 'Dark side of the moon' that you'd want to test on a new set of speakers/headphones. If you could only afford one of his albums, you're probably b ... (read more)

Report this review (#53762) | Posted by | Saturday, October 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This was always one of my favorite pieces of music. It is not a large work, but is a spectacular one. Also, despite all it's popularity and general aproval, I think that not many people understand it completely. I don't think that Vangelis, TD and others deserve more credit than Jarre actually ... (read more)

Report this review (#43230) | Posted by | Wednesday, August 17, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It's indeed interesting to see pure electronic stuff such as JMJ and Klaus Schulze in progarchives, I was thinking why they weren't here anyway! Had this Electronica sub- genre not been added, I was thinking of suggesting the site editors to put at least more proggy (whatever that means!) album ... (read more)

Report this review (#38543) | Posted by Bilek | Tuesday, July 5, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Great early electronica stuff! JMJ was one of the pioneers of electronica through the 80's. He made a lot of great albums, such as "Magnetic Fields", "Zoolook" and "Rendez-Vous", but this one, that was released in 1976, is probably his finest. I know it sounds dated, but I have so many memorie ... (read more)

Report this review (#34752) | Posted by | Friday, April 22, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars JMJ made electronica accessible for the masses! As a pop product "Oxygene" is really a legendary classic but from a progressive and artistic point of view it lacks some musical depth to reach te same hights as TANGERINE DREAM, KLAUS SCHULZE, VANGELIS and others. After hearing this masters "Oxygen ... (read more)

Report this review (#34751) | Posted by terramystic | Friday, April 22, 2005 | Review Permanlink

2 stars It's an OK album, but no more. Enjoyable certainly. But not a masterpiece by any means. The problem is not that it's all synth-based, but that it lacks depth in the compositions, which are shallow and repetitive. It's ok in vocal songs, but in the instrumentals, such as this album, the repetit ... (read more)

Report this review (#34750) | Posted by | Friday, April 22, 2005 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of JEAN-MICHEL JARRE "Oxygène"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.