I loved this when it first appeared, my favourite of JMJ's early output, but was disappointed by the original "Polydor UK" Cd release, Somewhere, JMJ either used better masters for the Disques Dreyfus release, or did some very subtle remix work, as the result is so much more vivid and colourful (the same thing happened with "Zoolook").
There's something for everyone here, my favourites being pt's 5-7, which must be played on a pair of decent, BIG, speakers (or top notch headphones at a pinch) to really show the scale and movement of these pieces.
I heard Equinoxe part 5 as a child. I did not know the musician, or even the name of the tune at the time. But I was captivated. When I bought the album I expected one or two good tunes. Few albums promise complete satisfaction. Yet this is akin to a Greatest Hits compliation, with many of his finest pieces in a single collection. And this was only his second album. While I am a fan, I do not believe Jarre has been consistent. His last two studio albums were quite awful. Even his recent concerts could never hope to emulate his spectacular Paris La Defense show (1990). Equinoxe is, however, his greatest album and one of the greatest instrumental albums of all time.
From start to finish a masterclass in synth music. Swirling phased strings and thumping basslines, each part shifts in tempo and feel to create the ultimate sonic landscape. Highlights must be the wonderful "squelchy" moog sounds in Part 4, the uplifting beat of Equinoxe 5, and the fantastic bassline at the start of Part 7. Each part blends seamlessly despite all being of different styles. I couldn't recommend this album more.
Released in 1978, "Equinoxe" must rank as Jarre's finest work. This album is a lot deeper and darker than "Oxygene", and it features two of the most amazing pieces of modern music you are ever likely to hear (Part 5 and Part 7), and the other tracks are fairly incredible too. Predominantly ambient for the first half of the album, the second half relies on some incredibly catchy tunes set against funky pre-techno basslines. Superb stuff! One gripe may be that some of the synthesizer whizzes and bleeps are a bit over-the-top, but it's no different really to what William Orbit did on Madonna's "Ray of Light" album. If you only ever buy one album of instrumental music, buy Jean Michel Jarre's "Equinoxe".
After the phenomenal world wide success of his first album Oxygene in 1976 it was inevitable that another slice of French Electronica would soon follow. Equinoxe was published two years later in 1978.
Initially Equinoxe is a disappointment, broken into eight parts rather than six, you have to wait until part four and five before you realise that he had once again created a piece of music that somehow gets into your soul and makes you feel happy to be alive. That cloudburst and thunder opener is just phenomenal and really makes the piece feel earthy. I actually attempted to make a student film around part five. I saw it in terms of movement, legs pumping at bike pedals with rain splashing everywhere. I had it all in my head and storyboarded but it never came to pass. However, that's what the very best music does, it plants images in your mind and they stay there.
Its a close run thing, but for me Equinoxe just squeaks ahead of Chronologie as Jarre's best album.
Released in 1978, Jarre had really gotten into his stride by this, his second major release (just don't bother with anything before Oxygene, for fan-boys its great; but otherwise its just odd-pants). This is music from the air - as opposed to Oxygenge's music from the sea; and whilst the early tracks set a mood, part 4 and part 5 really sound just as fresh today as it did some 31 years ago.
Not that it sounds like late 70s, no this is timeless. I can be 100% sure if you don't know the album you WILL know the tracks. Perhaps not from your music collection, but used over and over again, TV, adverts, themes, they just keeps cropping up.
Silky smooth production, uplifting in places, dramatic in others (and in one, just silly - 'Band in the Rain' at the end of part 7 is really just odd), but for atmosphere and a real feeling of electronic-organic instrumental event.
Jarre is under-rated, and if you fancy not going with the crowd and actually trying something genuinely different - you have got to try Equinoxe.