With a career spanning 50 years in electronic music, it seems like the appropriate time for Jean Michel Jarre to be releasing a new ‘best of’ compilation album. His music has been a huge part of my life ever since I heard his music on the Landscape Channel in the late 80s/ early 90s. The track, Oxygene 4 is a masterpiece and I have been enamored with Jarre ever since, have heard all his albums and owning most.
In 1976 struggling musician Jean Michel Jarre released Oxygene on an unsuspecting world. It became a huge commercial success and brought Jarre to the masses, becoming one of the most successful French albums in the world. Oxygene has stood the test of time to become recognised as one of the most influential ambient electronic albums of all time and Jarre is on the right side of history, seen as a pioneer and master of the craft. A handful of successful albums and record breaking world tours followed and Jarre dipped back into the Oxygene well 20 years later to release Oxygene 7- 13 in 1997.
A period of experimentation and mixed success followed with highs such as Metamorphoses and Aero but also low lows such as with the much maligned Téo & Téa. It seemed that Jarre had lost his edge, his relevance... but in an extraordinary tale of redemption Jarre came back bigger and better in 2015 and 2016 with the impressive Electronica Vol 1 and 2 albums and a stunning world tour. It seemed like the time was right for Jarre to recapture his crown as the ambient electronica master and so, after 40 years from the original release of Oxygene we had Oxygene 3. When I heard about the release to say that I was excited would be an understatement. I consider the album to be one of the most influential in my life and it is probably my most listened to album ever. I was please but also worried that Jarre wouldn't be able to recapture the magic. It is difficult for many artists to have the fire and creativity of their youth but when I heard that Jarre was taking a back to basics approach and creating it within a 6 week time frame, just like he did for the original, I was sold. This new album was never intended to be a lavish polished production, instead it sounded rough in places but it had Jarre doing what he did best; creating haunting, ambient soundscapes that would stay with you for a long time and transport you to another place. The album was a return to the Jarre of yore, and his old self but with the added wisdom that comes with age.
And so we arrive at this current point in time with Jarre back on form, firing on all cylinders and touring around the world again. I’ve pre-ordered the Planet Jarre album and am super excited to hear my old favourites rearranged according to the four different themes: Soundscapes, Themes, Sequneces and Explorations. The track list is:
Jarre has been releasing short videos over the past few weeks reflecting back over his career and it is inteersting viewing.