Jean Michel Jarre

Behind the Mask Jean Michel Jarre - Oxygene (Polydor) 1977

1.  Oxygene (Part I) (7:40)
2.  Oxygene (Part II) (8:08)
3.  Oxygene (Part III) (2:55)
4.  Oxygene (Part IV) (4:14)
5.  Oxygene (Part V) (10:23)
6.  Oxygene (Part VI) (6:20)

Jean Michel Jarre is, for better or worse, considered one of the pioneers of electronic and ambient music. "Oxygen" is an incredibly infectious album of electronic music created using analog synthesizers and other electronic instruments and effects. Being recorded in 1976, this was far in advance of computers and digital media. The album was released on Polydor in 1977 and was heavily promoted by the label, even being included on the 1978 "California Jam 2" double record despite the fact that Jean didn't perform at the festival. (It's actually how I discovered Jean Michel Jarre's music.)

Being that I was (and still am) mostly a fan of heavy metal and hard rock, I still found something completely enjoyable about this early electronic music. It wasn't trendy (yet) and was other-worldly sounding. Nothing I knew of at the time sounded quite like it. The music is also fairly progressive and Jean Michel Jarre masterfully uses ethereal keyboards and rhythmic patterns to make this ambient instrumental music catchy and memorable. Personally I find "Oxygene" to be relaxing and something to just 'space out' to. Back in the day I can't count the number of times I put on this album to fall asleep to. It, along with Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" and some years later, Kraftwerk's "Computer World", were some albums far outside my normal listening tastes that I quite enjoyed.

I own this one on CD and vinyl. The LP cover is one of my favorites from the 70's. It's complex but simply executed. Somehow it loses a little of it's charm on the smaller CD format.

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