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4.6 out of 5 stars
Les Chants Magnétiques / Magnetic Fields
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 25 January 2009
For Jean Michel Jarre the turn of the 1980's was a very busy time. Equinoxe was a huge worldwide hit and he had just played his first mage concert at the Place de la Concorde in Paris to a million ecstatic fans on Bastille Day 1979.

The following year was the one where the next album's planning began and the neotiations began for the historic tour of China in late summer of 1981. China would see a fair amount of new material released to the public, including much of this album, released just a couple of months before.

Following his massive success, JMJ was targeted by Fairlight and, along with Peter Gabriel, was one of the first to use their equipment in anger. It's perhaps why this album feels a little unfinished in some places; there had not been enough time to explore the capabilities of the kit fully, only scratching the surface. It probably isn't until the legendary Music for Supermarkets and the magisterially good Zoolook that the full fruits of working with the Fairlight would be seen and heard.

This is not to say the album is bad: far from it. It is something of a pioneering work and has echoes of Jarre's past in Musique Concrète. The original album and cassette divied into two parts: the first was Magnetic Fields Part 1, which took up the whole of side 1; the second was the remainder. On a CD this division sort of disappears and changes the flow just a little.

Part 1 feels like several ideas stiched together. Some of them are stronger than others, particularly the urgent pulse of the opening section. Perhaps the most famous piece of all is Part 2, with its bright melody line and handclaps. It finishes with the background noise of trains, which ties this to both MFS and Zoolook a little as a recurrent theme. Part 3 is somewhat forgettable, Part 4 is a rather nice mid-tempo shuffle with hints of the aurora flickering in and out of life, punctuated by a solid pulsing bassline. The album finishes with Part 5, a rather melancholic rumba.

After what had gone before some have said that this album sounds a little sterile in comparison to the organic warmth of Oxygène and Zoolook. They do have something of a point to be honest, though Part 2 is really quite wonderful and is up there with the very best of his work (it's pretty much what tipped me into giving the album 4 stars). It's an album that perhaps is more to be admired than loved.
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on 1 March 2015
I think it is positive and lively and there is some kind of emotional quality in this synthesizer music, imparted by the artists personality and style. He not only composed and performed his music - he also produced it. I had already heard it about 10 times, as it's available to hear on YouTube.co.uk - there are lots of videos to be found as samples to hear. If you check out jrdu44 channel if you enter a search on this channel (i.e. click the magnifying glass symbol) enter: Les Chants Magnetiques playlist - and it's there in a reasonable quality. I have decided to add this one to my collection - the CD sent by zoverstocks seller was a remastered 2014 CD published by BMG and had a plastic wrapping. I've got other CD's of Jean Michel Jarre: Oxygene, Equinoxe, Aero, En attendant Costeau, Oxygene 7 - 13, and Oxygene Remastered; also Images. I am pleased; have played all of this music a lot. I used to borrow a CD from the library to find if I liked it first before buying CD's, but YouTube is a lot faster and there is a wider selection, so this particular album is recommended. In comparison, I think this re mastered version has slightly improved stereo sound quality and bass.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 14 January 2015
Magnetic Fields is by no means a bad album but stick with the original version for sound authenticity, this 2014 re masted effort has been utterly ruined by whoever remasted it, bass is lifeless and overall the sound stage feels somewhat disappointingly suppressed and striped of excitement as opposed to the original recording.. How Jarre allowed this to happen is beyond me, if it was intentional then what a complete waste of time resurrecting this 1981 release at the remastering studio was.
For reference, I would have given the original recording 4 out of 5 stars for Jarre's overall talent & efforts in capturing the listeners imagination on Magnetic Fields.
Magnetic Fields was not one of Jarre's greatest albums, but neither was it one of his worst.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 15 September 2006
The one track that stands out for me is part 4. Some great sequencing here (these current "virtual" versions of classic synthesisers are all very well, but you can't beat having the actual "tactile" instruments (with real sliders and knobs!) in front of you) and a great, simple melody to go with it. The ending of this track played LOUDLY on my HiFi used to make my guests jump......:-)

There are a few too many JMJ cliches here (and an AWFUL last track) and this has dated this album somewhat in my view. The production though seems very "clean" and open.

Well worth a listen and one of the last electronic albums of the "analogue synth plus sequencer" era.....
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on 13 January 2015
1981 saw the release of this, Jean-Michel Jarre's 3rd album. On release, this time, though, the use of the synthesizer was widespread, but J-M J countered this by sheer musicianship, and producing that most difficult thing; a fascinating, dense, and beautiful sonic object, which, at the same time, was accessible to the average listener, whilst not upsetting the serious music fan. Best played very loud, with no distractions, this is a classic piece of music which remains utterly timeless.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 25 June 2005
If you've heard Jarre's first and second albums (I don't mean Oxygene, his 3rd album)then take the feel of some of the tracks off that.
This is a short album 36 minutes approx. It is atmospheric BUT not in the same way as Oxygene & Equinoxe. Those 2 were very "earthy" and "airy" (both 5 star recordings) but this is very electronic. Possibly somewhat dated now (I can't judge that because I've loved this album for 20 years). So different to any other Jarre album, not as arty as Zoolook (his next release and again a 5star album).
This is a very listenable album but for me I always miss off the Last Rumba. For me it is out off place on this album.
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on 2 August 2014
This is another of my favourites from the French keyboard maestro, Magnetic Fields delivers a true electronic journey of fine musical pieces that only he knows how to do. If you Oxygene and Equinoxe then this is a great follow on.
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on 12 April 2015
As described. Arrived on-time.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 August 2012
I had heard some of these many years ago on a cassette of 'the best of' and it is really good to have them on CD in a remastered form that makes use of 24-bit technology. The sound of this album has dated, but that is only because synthesizers have developed a lot since then. The final chant reminds me of Sheffield's singer/songwriter John Shuttleworth, because of Jarre's choice of drum machine, so that is a bit of (unintended) fun.
Seriously, there is much to like about this album and it is well worth buying.
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on 19 February 2015
excellent album.
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