PD-1-6112 Oxygene
Produced by Jean-Michel Jarre
Released on December 1976
UK CHART POSITION #2 . . . US CHART POSITION #78
Find it at GEMM
PD-1-6112 cover  

O K, here’s a brain teaser (and I’ll give you a clue that the engineer connection is irrelevant). I, Robot: Animals as Oxygene: a) Book of Dreams b) Metal Machine Music c) Phaedra d) Heaven and Hell. If you answered C, then you’re probably feeling at least a twinge of pity for me that I have nothing better to do with my time. This album of space rock literally launched the career of Jean-Michel Jarre, riding on the cosmic coattails of earlier space pioneers like Tangerine Dream, Vangelis and Michael Oldfield all the way to #2 on the UK charts. In the world of music, timing is everything and talent is gravy. The trouble with Oxygene is that it’s spread with a pretty thin galactic gravy, thus its status as a kind of Tangerine Dream lite. Fortunately, it’s a pretty big universe out there, and space rock fans can make all sorts of room for an artist like Jarre. He doesn’t conjure the electrical stormclouds of TD or the precious antiquity of Vangelis, choosing instead a modicum of sounds with which to paint the cosmos. The results can be heard as refreshingly accessible or relatively trite, depending on whether you see space rock as an extension of the classical movement or as an excuse for non-musicians to make grandiose musical statements. If you’re inclined to give this music the benefit of the doubt, let Oxygene wash over you with its persistent sequencer patterns, crackling synthetic percussion, and streams of sound. The net effect is very similar to Tangerine Dream, if less likely to reward medicated introspection. Jarre’s most distinctive touch may come on the closing Part VI, a kind of synthetic lounge music that lets the air out of the space rock balloon, exposing that rarest of breeds: an electronic composer with a sense of humor. Not that it has anything to do with anything, but Oxygene (Part VI) reminds me a lot of a Godley & Creme song (“Freeze Frame,” I think). Oh, and did I mention that I like Oxygene? Probably should have worked that in somewhere...

PD-1-6112 back cover PD-1-6112 promotional sleeve
PD-1-6112 back cover PD-1-6112 promotional sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. OXYGENE (PART I)    7:40
  2. OXYGENE (PART II)    8:10
  3. OXYGENE (PART III)    2:50
  4. OXYGENE (PART IV)    4:08
  5. OXYGENE (PART V)    10:31
  6. OXYGENE (PART VI)    6:16

    Composed by Jean-Michel Jarre

CREDITS

JEAN-MICHEL JARRE -- A.R.P. synthesizer, A.K.S. synthesizer, V.C.S. 3 synthesizer, R.M.I. harmonic synthesizer, Farsifa organ, Eminent, mellotron, Rhythmin' computer
Jean-Pierre Janiaud -- mixing engineer
Michel Granger -- cover art

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
FRA 1976 Disques Motors LP MTO 77000  
US December 1976 Polydor LP/CS/8T PD/CT/8T-1-6112  
GER 1976 Polydor LP 2344 068  
UK 1977 Polydor LP 2310 555  
JPN   Polydor LP MPF-1098  
UK 1981 Polydor 2CS   repackaged w. EQUINOXE
FRA/US September 21, 1993 Dreyfus CD FDM 36140  
US   Mobile Fidelity CD UDCD-613  
  1997 Dreyfus CD EPC 487375 24-bit remaster

 

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