Review Summary: The birth of a whole new world for music
Jean Michel Jarre is one of those musicians that don't need (or at least shouldn't need) an introduction. One of the most important precursors of genres like electronic music, new age or ambient, he is, along with others like Brian Eno or Vangelis, one of the most creative minds that emerged in the 70's, and his magnum opus, Oxygene
, is a cornerstone in modern music.
Before this album, synthesizers were already an important element in music, a central piece that differentiated genres like prog rock from other musical styles of that time, and artists like Eno or Vangelis already knew the potential that these magic, electronic instruments really had, and started to experiment with them a lot more than many other musicians did. However it wasn't until this LP that we would see what they were truly capable of, since even Jarre's early albums felt a little bit immature and unpolished.
In 1976 however, years of experimentation finally culminated in what would be the first modern electronic album. Oxygene's
sound can be described as ethereal, and extremly dense, yet very simple at the same time; it creates a beautiful spacey atmoshpere that feels pretty cold, but in a good way, just like a cold air stream or the cold wind of a March morning.
Even when the ambient created in here is sublime, which works as the proof of the mature sound that Jarre managed to produce, it still feels happy, and even catchy at many points. That is probably one of the most interesting things about Oxygene
. Creating such a mystical sound that at the same time could be played at a disco (using Part IV
as an example) is certainly difficult to conceive, and even in the present day is a task that not many can recreate. Of course, artists like Solar Fields create a similar atmosphere in their albums but doing this, in such a prolific way, almost forty years ago is really something worthy of respect.
The LP is not perfect though, in some parts, specially around Part V
, its spacey atmosphere loses a little bit of cohesiveness and tends to drag on, but this kind of issues won't last for a long time and certainly aren't "bad", they're just moments that don't feel as good as the rest of the album does.
deserves to be praised because it is one of the very few examples of a work that's original and extraordinarily influential without falling into the immaturity and inconsistency of many albums that preceded newer sounds or styles in music. Jarre established a whole new sound in music and at the same time showed how it was supposed to be done, not just creating "some elements, or pieces" of how it could be.
Two years later Jean Michel Jarre released Equinoxe
, an album that's considered by some as Oxygene Part II
since its style is pretty similar, yet still feels as good as it does in here. After this album many others would come, none of them producing the magic found in these two releases though. It was the time for other artists to come, and keep exploring what would become one of the most important genres of the present day.