Saturday, 19 November 2016

40 years of Oxygene

Jean-Michel Jarre's Oxygene was released 40 years ago... and, something that very few synth concept albums succeded, it sounds futuristic even today.

Before the more recent adventures into more commercial electronic music that Jarre has taken fans onto, Oxygene stands out as a minimalist, yet intricate and delicate, electronic symphony.

After Oxygene 2, which introduced some recent mainstream elements into what set out to continue the concept, now comes Oxygene 3 - to be released on 2 December.

It is hard to predict exactly what we shall hear, but in Jarre's own words, "The idea was not to copy the first album, but rather keeping the dogma of embarking listeners on a journey from beginning to end with different chapters, all linked to each other."

Hopefully it will not sway too much into EDM-side of things, specifically trance music (perhaps the mainstream genre where Jarre's influence can be most felt). One might sound retro, but it would be splendid if Oxygene 3 integrates well with the previous two installments. It being released as a box set, which contains the first two albums, too, is perhaps a sign that it will not be radically different in its sonic journeys.

"I tried to keep this minimalist approach for Oxygene 3. Some moments are built around one or two elements, like in the first volume." , states Jarre. "What made the first Oxygene so different at the time, is probably the minimalist aspect, and the fact that there are almost no drums, and I wanted to keep this approach, creating the groove mainly with the sequences and the structure of the melodies only, through an architecture of sounds."

So there we have it... It certainly sounds as if it continues the tradition of the first two volumes (and the well-integrated improvised tracks on the In The Living Room version of the first).

After Electronica Vol 1 & 2, it will be very interesting to see this return to the 40-year-old concept and its unique sonic universe.