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on 25 July 2002
Magnetic Fields needed to be made, because it breaks with the earthy mysticism found on Jarre's previous albums, "Oxygene" and "Equinoxe".
Some have said that Magnetic Fields sounds more "mechanical" than the others and there is good reason for this. This was the first album Jarre made using the brand new Fairlight synthesiser, although it would be called a "workstation" today, combining as it does a very powerful synthesiser with a sequencer and sampler (with a sample rate of 96Khz and an onboard memory of 16MB - not too shabby for 1981!) It cost around $60,000 dollars when new, so Jarre really tried to get his money's worth, using it in every album up to, I think, 1989's "Revolutions". However, the drawback of this synth is that it had a very 1980s digital "harshness", which contrasts with the smooth, organic sound of the 1970s analogue synths.
Jean-Michel Jarre's music usually falls into two categories - Dreamy, synthesised soundscapes and cheesy Euro-pop. Unfortunately both are represented on this album.
The first track, weighing in at some fifteen minutes is one of Jarre's masterpieces. The first part rolls along mechanically but catchily, his ever-present drum machine tinnily clicking and popping away to itself in the background. The second part is where it gets interesting. Jarre creates a dreamy soundscape over which he puts vocal samples, distorted and processed into some strange alien language (yes, he experimented with this before Zoolook). It ends with some wonderful sampled jet aircraft, flying from one side of the sound-field to the other before (and this is the best bit) suddenly cutting off and bursting into the third part, which is widely regarded as one of his best tunes (yes, that IS a Vocoder, and yes, it does sound great, doesn't it?)
Part 2 I really don't like, largely because it falls into the cheesy Euro-pop category and has dated very badly, but also because I played the game Bombjack incessantly as a kid and this used to be the in-game music!
Part 3 is wonderfully understated, beginning with sampled mechanical sounds before evolving into a beautiful dreamlike sequence with tinkling synths and bubbling arpeggios. This gradually becomes Part 4, a great tune in the classic Jarre style.
Part 5 is entirely superfluous, a song whimsically subtitled "The Last Rumba" and (deliberately or not) sounding like it was played on a £50 Casio keyboard!
This is not Jarre's best or most well known album, and if you are just discovering him you might think twice about buying this. But if you are interested in Jarre's work, it can be a very rewarding and enjoyable listening experience.
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on 8 May 2002
Magnetic Fields was Jarre's 3rd album, and had a lot to live up to, as it followed Oxygene and Equinoxe, which are still his most famous albums. And while it may not have that same quality it is still one of his very best albums.
The first track is nearly 18 minutes long, but is split into 3 sections. The middle section is one of the best passages of music he has ever done, it is very dreamy and peaceful, but builds up into an explosion of synth mixed with a classical music influence.
Magnetic Fields Part 2 is the most accessible song on the album, with the drums and the tunes all made to sound like a fast moving train. This is regarded as one of his best songs.
Part 4 is preceded by a small relaxing song which sounds like a boat traveling down a canal. Part 4 itself is simalar to part 2 in that it is instantly accessible, and it also provokes visions of a train journey.
The last track of the album sounds very out of place, in that it just sounds like a normal structured instrumental song, but it is a nice way to close the album.
Overall there are many great moments on this record, and is as good as the likes of Chronologie and Rendez-Vous, but it is not quite up to Oxygene and Equinoxe standards.
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on 7 November 2011
What more can I say? This is classic JMJ and a 'Must-have' for any fan of the Great Man's music! Magnetic Fields was the next stage in Jean Michel Jarre's evolution and, although perhaps not such a classic as Oxygene and the sublime Equinoxe, it is still a great album. The last track doesn't quite fit in, but the rest of the album is great, atmospheric music to dream to, relax to, or drive at night to!
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on 13 December 2000
"Magnetic Fields" is not the greatest Jarre album out, but by the same token it's still not bad.
The first track weighs in at 17 minutes, but is actually made up of three entirely different pieces. This is most annoying, especially since the third part which starts some 11 minutes into the proceedings will be appreciated by those who like synth-pop music in the style of Erasure's Vince Clarke.
Highlight of the album is "Magnetic Fields Part 2", a catchy tune with an enjoyably tinny drumline. Unfortunately this album lacks the emotions and moods of Jarre's previous works, "Oxygene" and "Equinoxe".
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on 31 August 2014
Finally got round to replacing vinyl copy - service from seller was good with the item delivered in good time as described - Magnetic Fields completes the first trio of Jarres more popular releases along with Oxgene and Equinox all of which I bough immediately on vinyl at their release in the UK so am more than pleased to 're-unite' them in my collection on compact disc.
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on 9 November 2005
Out of all his albums, i have to say this one is one of his better albums, Next to my favourite, rende-vous 98, Magnetic Fields is a very addictive album, except the last track, which to me belongs on a Mike Oldfield Album, who is also Very good, The first Part of Magnetic Fields is also on the aero Album, a decent remake of his classic song, This album is worth buyin
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on 5 November 2010
not quite as good as exuinoxe
not nearly as good as oxygene
but good enough to be mentioned in the same sentence as the first 2
some very good electronica from the king of the genre
if you like j m jarre .. buy it
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on 29 June 2012
Another album my brother used to play all the time. Now I am playing it all the time. It is full of tracks that you just want to tap you feet to and raise you hands in the air to. Wonderful stuff.
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on 20 September 2011
i have this album on cassette and it sounds even better on cd, its one of my favorites
well worth a listen if your in to his music.!!!!!
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on 24 May 2011
I purchased this music as an LP well over 20 years ago,just had to have it on CD,it still sounds as good as ever,strongly recommend it
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