Friday, May 4, 2012

OXYGENE  -  Jean Michel Jarre

YEAR:  1976
LABEL:  Disques Dreyfud/Polydor
TRACK LISTING:  Oxygène (Part I),  Oxygène (Part II),  Oxygène (Part III),  Oxygène (Part IV),  Oxygène (Part V),  Oxygène (Part VI)
IMPRESSIONS:  I sought this album out after hearing snippets of "Oxygène (Part II)" in the film GALLIPOLI as well as the use of Jarre's EQUINOXE album in Carl Sagan's COSMOS series in 1980.  This was the height of electronic music which sounded bizarre or spacey in the late 70's - early 80's and I lapped it up with fiendish glee.  After having been raised on Mike Oldfield's first three albums, I was certainly predisposed to the likes of Kraftwerk, Isao Tomita or Jean Michel Jarre (and yes, even non-CHARIOTS OF FIRE Vangelis, if you please).   "Oxygène" is certainly one of those "headphones" albums as well as something equally suited for playing on the stereo in a darkened, candlelit room or driving through the night in your car.  Hearing "Oxygène" or its companion album "Equinoxe" always reminds me of a fun pasttime our family friend Ronnie taught me when I was a kid.  If you turn the TV to a non-used channel (this was the days before cable, folks) where there was nothing but "snow" and you turned the "brightness" all the way down to almost but not quite total blackness, the snow on the screen would appear as if you were flying through space and passing through millions of stars.  I'm here to tell you it worked and it was cool.  Much like the forward viewscreen as the starship Enterprise or the Millenium Falcon travelled through space.  Ah, for the analog seventies!
MY FAVOURITE TRACKS:  All of 'em.  The album plays as one continuous piece.
FACT SHEET:  OXYGENE is Jean Michel Jarre's third album.  Jarre recorded the album in his apartment kitchen using electronic instruments as well as analog synthesizers.  The cover painting is by Michel Granger; the album "Oxygène" was inspired by this painting when it was given to Jarre by his wife Charlotte Rampling.  "Oxygène (Part II)" was used in the soundtrack to the film GALLIPOLI.  The motif for "Oxygène (Part IV)" was based on Gershon Kingsley's hit single "Popcorn".

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