PD-1-6325 Les Chants Magnetiques (Magnetic Fields)
Produced by Jean-Michel Jarre
Released on May 1981
UK CHART POSITION #6 . . . US CHART POSITION #98
Find it at GEMM
PD-1-6325 wo. cover  

T he trick behind electronic music, apparently, is to keep your point of reference a few million miles above your audience. You know, painting the cosmos with your computer and explaining away the pixellated images as le motif juste. Les Chants Magnetiques (which would actually translate as Magnetic Chants or Songs rather than Fields) comes down to earth, and some listeners have taken the opportunity to pounce on this work as trite, terrestrial, mortal. It is more streamlined than Oxygene and Equinoxe, courting Eurodisco a little too closely at times and leaving the ineffable infinity of space to Vangelis and Tangerine Dream. It is not, however, a bad album. The side-long Part 1 crackles with electricity, moving with purpose and clinical precision for much of the way (an eerie section in the middle is the exception). The parts that follow are perhaps a little too cute for their own good: employing a toy box on Part 3 as Cluster might have, drawing comparisons to Paul McCartney’s electronic doodles on Part 4, and closing with a joke (albeit a good one) on “The Last Rumba” all conspire to let the air out of any self-inflated concept the listener might have been entertaining. And yet, all walking in space and no play would make Jarre a dull act; by contrast, you could tune into Tangerine Dream every few years and not have missed anything. Les Chants Magnetiques doesn’t resonate as deeply as an Oxygene or Equinoxe, but the cause isn’t a lack of inspiration, merely a different source of inspiration. It remains a rare case of an electronic composer exercising his sense of humor and humanity; in fact, Vangelis may well have taken a page from this book when he recorded The City some years later.

TRACK LISTING

  1. MAGNETIC FIELDS PART 1    17:55
  2. MAGNETIC FIELDS PART 2    3:50
  3. MAGNETIC FIELDS PART 3    4:41
  4. MAGNETIC FIELDS PART 4    6:07
  5. MAGNETIC FIELDS PART 5 (THE LAST RUMBA)    3:28

    All tracks composed by Jean-Michel Jarre

CREDITS

JEAN-MICHEL JARRE --

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
FRA May? 1981 Dreyfus LP/CS FDM/FDM40 18108  
UK May 1981 Polydor LP/CS POLS 1033 a/o POLD 5159 inner sleeve
US/CAN May 1981 Polydor LP/CS PD-1-6325 inner sleeve
ARG 1981 Polydor LP 2311 075  
GER 1981? Polydor LP 2344 166  
FRA/US May 1, 1994 Dreyfus CD FDM 36142  

 

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