Truly brilliant or second rate "commercial" Tangerine Dream? I had this dilemma when I first heard this (now important) album.
At first, it all seems too simple and easy. The almost cheesy percussion sounds, the swoops and swerves and childishly simple melodies almost appearing to come from a textbook "pop" manual
Further listening shows just how proficient JMJ was (and is) at his craft. He kept things easy and simple, so that all manner of people could enjoy its almost naive beauty. There's a real flow to the pieces and the melodies stay in one's head for YEARS afterwards.
Time has again been kind to this release. I think I prefer "Equinox" overall, as it has a bit more to get one's teeth into, but this is a really charming album and a "must" for any worthwhile collection.
At time of writing this album is nearly 30 years old. It doesn't sound it. Any artist who uses any electronic instrument owes a debt to this album. Firstly because Jarre developed many of the instruments played on this and secondly because he broke new ground. I have his earlier work: this is so breathtakingly different it is difficult to imagine it is by the same artist. This disc is visionary. Quick guided tour - for me the album speaks of movement through air, perhaps flight. We are taken through atmospheres and eventually arrive at a stormy coast. If you can allow your mind to wander with this music guiding you will be rewarded.
I rate this top of all music ever experienced. I can have it on repeat all day and not tire of it. If I wish to relax it is superb.
Jarre has recorded many fine albums - I reccomend Equinoxe, Zoolook and Waiting for Cousteau particularly, but this disc defines Jarre and it created a genre. There aren't many other discs can make the same claim.
In 20 years time I can believe this could be played as classical music. This is the original synth album and very very difficult to beat
on 25 September 2002
Imagine the scene in 1976. One unheard of French gent, a simple 8 track recording studio, mostly self made. Simple monophonic and primitive polyphonic synthesisers which no one could understand and a album consisting of 6 instrumental pieces of music strung together with no vocals titled Oxygene. Sounds dull ? Forget it.
This was an incredible achievement in anyones eyes. Electronic music in 1976 was a mostly unheard of style and only a handfull of artists broke thru to the public domain being held back not because of thier talent but because of simple prejudice and a misunderstanding of the style. Many a talent in this field struggled for many years, Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, Tomita, Vangelis to name a few.
Then Jarre delivered this masterpiece which caught the publics imagination then spawned many a wannabe in subsequent years.
Futuristic, majestic, deep, dark and melodic the music swirls and envelopes you in a timeless wash of synthestic tunes bubbleling to the occasional sequence or beat of an ancient drum machine or sequencer and those who ventured are rewarded with a album you can play and play and play.
Anyone around in 1976 would remember the haunting melodies on offer here, as slowly the media picked up on the LP, a fresh alternative to other 'popular music' of the day. The single Oxygene Part 4, managed to get to no.2 in the UK and even today the sounds created by Jarre then, seem as futuristic as ever even in todays over reliance of synthetic sounds especially in the manufactured world of pop. Oxygene will never tire.
Fo me, the slow outro Part 6 is stunning and a little sad as the final synth wash and bird sounds fades into the speakers, leaving silence. Fantastic
Jarre pushed the old techonolgy on this album and continued to pave the way up until Zoolook. For me, Jarre lost the magic and the distance early electronic artists had gained as then every man and thier band used a synthesier but with more comes less.
Jarre struggled to capture the magic on the sequel which shows that the technology of today will never give rise to the true experimentation of the mid 70's.
Buy some magic and buy Oxygene.
on 18 April 2001
Jean Michel Jarre broke into the music scene in 1976 with Oxygene... I wasn't around back then, but I've acquired the album and I have one word: PERFECT. Oxygene 1 starts the album off in a nice, lowkey way, very relaxing. Oxygene 2 then comes with the brilliant synths, and the absolutely brilliant chorus, used by Citroen at the moment. Then comes Oxygene 3... a nice break before the big track itself Oxygene 4. Everyone who was alive in 1976 knows this one. Then Oxygene 5, starts of nice and slowly and relaxing, then in comes the synth bass, adding a perfect finish to the perfect beginning. Then the finale (at least until 1997) Oxygene 6, the sea sound sweeping along and the 'bird tweet' noise adding colour to the bass lead.
In case you hadn't noticed, I like this album. I like it very very much, just like I like all of Jarre's other albums very very much... I should know, I've got all of them! 8-)
So, if you want a nice mixture of relaxation and upbeat electronic music, buy Oxygene... you won't regret it!
on 13 November 2011
Oxygène is almost as old as I am (nearly), and any review must be written in context, taking into the account this age, because by todays standards, you could easily dismiss this album as crude. But then you look at the artists populating the realm of electronica these days and many owe their tastes, talents and success to the pioneers and their pioneering albums, like Oxygène.
Aside from the accepted relative crudeness, there's an unabashed honesty to the sounds and styles, evoking a sense of lightness and of flight through the air, accomplished without cliché or self importance. To my modern ears, I've picked out a particular part used in sample by Beck, but I'm sure there are countless others.
My only complaint is the length -- there isn't any. But again, I'm making comparisons, probably unfairly, with modern electronica, many being continuous mixed songs several hours long.
If for no other reason than to say you have in your musical collection a piece of history, buy Oxygène.
on 18 January 2004
This was the stage of Jarre's career before the era of "Son et Lumiere". This is good enough reason "alone" to buy this. As wonderful as Jarre's outdoor concerts are (and i've been to a few),they were ironically to become his musical downfall as he compromised more and more,and began writing works more with the next concert in mind,rather than soundscapes. Oxygene and Equinoxe are superb experiments in Soundscapes. Discs where you can put on a good pair of headphones,turn off the lights,close your eyes, and lie back on a bed to be transported to another world,as you ride on the sweeping lush synth sounds and textures. You always reach the end of these early albums,and feel you've been inside a womb and re-born. You were truly in another world for the duration of the work. A psychedelic world where the experimental sounds took you far away. This is why i admire his early work so much. His later work was always fun, but very shallow & cheap at times. Oxygene and Equinoxe are of his very deep and melancholy stage. A young man at a stage of his life trying to understand the world and universe he lives in,and putting it into synth music. Later on,Jarre seemed more interested in image,designer outfits,and as many fireworks as possible. Alas, this early stage of Jean Michel is long gone. Buy this CD today (along with Equinoxe,Magnetic Fields,and Rendezvous) and admire these classics of early synth. Just buy these early classics by him and enjoy them :)
on 13 October 2010
This guy blazed the trail that enabled bands such as The Orb, Leftfield, Chemical Brothers et al to evolve. Oxygene and the follow-up album Equinoxe were his two most popularly known pieces of work in the UK, but some of his later work manages to eclipse this belter if an album. I can safely say this album will never date ..... its such a unique sound and vibe that it still sounds groundbreaking over 30 years after it was released. When we all talk about musical greats ..Jean Michel Jarre always gets over looked .... goodness knows why. He is quite simply a musical genius, a Mozart of the synthesizer age and after all this time in the business, he still has no true rival. Many have arrived on the scene and flirted with success, but they all lack longevity. Jarre is the maestro and this is still an outstanding album.
on 5 September 2002
Quite simply - buy this. Its the nearest thing I have ever heard to musical perfection. Easily the most significant piece of music to be released over the last 50 years as it establishes the art of symphony via electronic means. Subtle genious through mesmerising analogue synthetic sounds - this is Jarre's first major (and best) work. Together with Equinoxe, this is electronic instumental music at its best.
on 10 March 2007
My very first instrumental album that wasn't a various artists compilation. Another of my university albums, and another that had an impact. Electronic music at that time was a novelty and Jarre's innovative techniques made this album interesting listening. Twenty years on, I still find it innovative.
on 9 August 2010
In 1976 I was a 10 year old geek obsessed with spaceflight and science fiction. When I heard `Oxygene' Part 2 on the radio it blew my mind. I had to own this album. It was the first and best record I ever bought - I played it so much on my Dad's HiFi I drove the family mad and wore out both the grooves on the LP and the stylus on the record player. `Oxygene' has always been there in my life and even now, 34 years later, I still listen to the album (now on CD and MP3) and it still sounds fresh, futuristic and new. `Oxygene' is perfect for several reasons. Firstly it was groundbreaking in concept- an entirely electronic seamless soundtrack with no vocals; secondly the album art by Michel Granger and thirdly the fact that the tracks are masterfully composed, crafted and produced. Musically it is not avant garde, it is quite simplistic (the most instantly recognisable track, `Part 4', revolves around three chords: C minor, G minor and F major); a kind of melancholy version of the classic synth track `Popcorn' which was previously covered by Jarre under the pseudonym "Jamie Jefferson". Prior to `Oxygene' Jean-Michel Jarre had produced some other minor recordings that were not particularly memorable (such as `Zig Zag Dance', the soundtrack to `Les Granges Brulees', an album of background music compiled as `The Deserted Palace', various advertising jingles etc...). These compositions, however, suffered from poor production values and intonation problems. The story then goes like this; Jarre's future wife, actress Charlotte Rampling bought him a painting by Michel Granger (the now famous cover art to `Oxygene') which inspired this master work. Jarre converted the kitchen of his flat into a makeshift studio equipped with several synthesizers, a multitrack recorder, a very early drum machine, tape-delays and most importantly (the "star" of `Oxygene') an `Eminent' 310 electronic organ patched through modified guitar effects pedals which gives the album its distinctive swirling string sounds amongst others. Over the course of many months, Jarre painstakingly constructed `Oxygene'. Compared to his previous works it was a majestic `Opus Magnus', acoustically perfect and (amazingly) completely free from any "cheeziness". During that period, Jarre proved himself to be more that the privileged son of a famous composer with some fancy expensive gear - but a musical genius. Anyone listening to Oxygene for the first time will be impressed but then you have to put things in context; in 1976 this was the first time human ears had ever heard anything like this. Get a decent sound system, buy a copy, pour yourself a glass of wine, turn out the lights, settle down in a comfy chair and enter the world of "Oxygene"...Then, afterwards, of course, put on `Equinoxe'.