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Thread: My Struggle with Jean-Michel Jarre

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    My Struggle with Jean-Michel Jarre

    As a casual listener to the music of Jean-Michel Jarre (I bought Oxygene and Rendez Vous back in the day), I invested, in 2018, in Planet Jarre: 50 Years of Music. A handy summary, I thought. In two years though I haven't managed to get through the second disc. Tried again today, and failed. Anybody, ever, managed it?
    Sergei

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    I like the one CD I have by him (and had on vinyl in the day), Oxygene, of course. However, it was a little too simplistic to encourage me to go further into his collection. I started getting into more complex and challenging stuff like Klaus Schulze and Heldon, so I never returned to his body of work.

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    I prefer Jean Michel Jarre over Klaus Schulze who sounds boring to my ears. But I have to admit it's a long time ago I heard something by Klaus Schulze.

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    I'm here for the moosic NogbadTheBad's Avatar
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    I have around 6 JMJ albums and particularly like Equionoxe and Oxygene, it's kinda electronica lite but I do like the vibe.
    Ian

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    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iris View Post
    As a casual listener to the music of Jean-Michel Jarre (I bought Oxygene and Rendez Vous back in the day), I invested, in 2018, in Planet Jarre: 50 Years of Music. A handy summary, I thought. In two years though I haven't managed to get through the second disc. Tried again today, and failed. Anybody, ever, managed it?
    Since I already had mostly everything he put out, this collection seemed a little pricier than what I'd want to spend, but the way he divvied things up into "universes" instead of a chronological sequence reminded me of the first Miles Davis box where they did something similar along thematic groupings, which didn't really seem to work for me.

  7. #7
    Oxygene still has the magic effect it had on me as a child, because when I heard it in the late 70s it was my first real exposure to this kind of music. It was a kind of mystical experience, like the one I had had with the first part of Floyd's Shine On. The first 2 parts of Oxygene flow perfectly to my ears.
    I'm not as fond of his work after this album, because it often feels too commercial or light to my ears. I still find interesting things on almost each album, but I'm drawn to more challenging music. That being said, he has probably played a part in bringing electronic music to the masses, for better or worse.

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    To me the bests are Oxygene and Equinoxe. Bough them when they were released. I couldn't find any others like these 2. Listening in today's days they sound super fresh.

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    I've got Oxygene, one of the first albums I ever bought. Used to have a tape of Equinox but it's long one. Did once hear Concerts in China, and thought it quite good. Quite fancy getting the Oxygene revisited, where he plays it live on the original kit. I've seen the YouTube video of him showing off his museum pieces!

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    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NogbadTheBad View Post
    I have around 6 JMJ albums and particularly like Equinoxe and Oxygene, it's kinda electronica lite but I do like the vibe.
    Yup, those are the two I still own, from back in the days... I sort of dropped after Champs Magnétiques and didn't pay attention at all afterwards, except in the two Oxygene follow-ups, which I thought were unworthy

    However last year (or the previous), the second Equinoxe was quite good.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

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    I bought Oxygene and Zoolook on cassette sometime in the mid 80s. I hadn't heard either one before buying. But Zoolook is the one that was the more interesting of the two for me. Oxygene sounded too much like the Tangerine Dream that I knew quite well and so it wasn't as fresh or as interesting as it might have in the 70s had I heard it then. It's certainly not bad. Zoolook OTOH is a weird one. Jarre seemed really trying to find a new sound and it's far from a masterpiece but there are a few tracks that I found very satisfying. And have heard nothing like it before or since.

    Probably haven't listened to either in 10-15 years so i should give 'em a whirl. The tapes are still around here somewhere.

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    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    I love Sessions 2000, but it's totally unlike anything else that he's done.


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    All Things Must Pass spellbound's Avatar
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    I like JMJ's music, and have 11 of his albums + 1 compilation. Sure, I have a favorite period, between les granges brulees and Oxygene 7-13. But I don't dislike anything I have heard outside that period. Now listening to the Sessions 2000 posted above. Good stuff. Thanks for posting.
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    Member Mr.Krautman's Avatar
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    Jarre was allways a follower, Oxygene was fairly good but highly inspired by the Berlin school and other less know french cosmic/space synth artists. When it was released in 1976 everything on it was already done and heard before, nothing new or innovative. Zoolook is his most interesting work (and the only JMJ record I still own) but once again it came out two years too late, when many others have experimented with the (then new and trendy) sampling techniques. (Hubert Bognermayr & Harald Zuschrader ‎have done it much better in 1982 with their Erdenklang Computerakustische Klangsinfonie). I have never ventured further in his huge discography since I'm not fond of his later easy going cheesy simplistic synth tunes.

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    ^^^ That's interesting... I've never heard of Hubert and Harald so I'll have to give them a search on Youtube. I just listened to Zoolook now (as I said above for the first time in 10-15 years probably...) and I still think it is pretty innovative for its time. But I'm not an expert in that genre by any means.

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    I remember when Equinoxe was released did not like it too much and preferred Oxigene. Today, after so many years I think is a master piece :-)

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Krautman View Post
    Jarre was allways a follower, Oxygene was fairly good but highly inspired by the Berlin school and other less know french cosmic/space synth artists. When it was released in 1976 everything on it was already done and heard before, nothing new or innovative. Zoolook is his most interesting work (and the only JMJ record I still own) but once again it came out two years too late, when many others have experimented with the (then new and trendy) sampling techniques. (Hubert Bognermayr & Harald Zuschrader ‎have done it much better in 1982 with their Erdenklang Computerakustische Klangsinfonie). I have never ventured further in his huge discography since I'm not fond of his later easy going cheesy simplistic synth tunes.
    Bognermnermayr and Zuschrader made 2 albums after that one (not counting the Blue Chip Orchestra) but they are less interesting. Sternenklang consists of Christmas-songs, with fairly simple sounds and arrangements. Bergpredigt is better, but overly religious.

    The LP of Erdenklang had an endorsement by Wendy Carlos.

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    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickm View Post
    I remember when Equinoxe was released did not like it too much and preferred Oxigene. Today, after so many years I think is a master piece :-)
    Equinoxe was definitely more challenging than the "a-bit-too-light" Oxygène was , to say the least.

    I'm not sure it sold nearly as many as Oxygene did, despite probably thousands going for it blindly. I guess many of them WTF'd because it was not nearly as easy. Again, you might want to look into Equinoxe Infinity, which is much better than the two Oxigène rehashes he'd made.


    I guess I should Look in Zoo again, some day, but it doesn't sound like an emergency
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Rarebird View Post
    I prefer Jean Michel Jarre over Klaus Schulze who sounds boring to my ears.
    He'd might even take that as a bizarre sort of compliment.

    There's a quote from him somewhere about his music "[...] not supposed to be 'listened to' but to be sensed or felt". I mean, Cyborg is almost an equally challenging sit-through listen as Metal Machine Music or Trout Mask Replica, although obviously for other reasons.
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    I'm here for the moosic NogbadTheBad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    Equinoxe was definitely more challenging than the "a-bit-too-light" Oxygène was , to say the least.

    I'm not sure it sold nearly as many as Oxygene did, despite probably thousands going for it blindly. I guess many of them WTF'd because it was not nearly as easy. Again, you might want to look into Equinoxe Infinity, which is much better than the two Oxigène rehashes he'd made.


    I guess I should Look in Zoo again, some day, but it doesn't sound like an emergency
    I'm in the same place as you on these Trane.
    Ian

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    I blame Wynton, what was the question?
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  21. #21
    I opened this hoping it would be about how Jarre keeps outbidding OP for gear on Reverb or something.

    I like Jarre... I also think it helps to look at much of his output in terms of his own exploration, e.g. "This is the album where he discovered the Fairlight"... it's a bit misplaced to say he was just copying the Germans because I think his work is more melodic and structured. Compositionally it is not so ambitious but the whole picture also includes the arrangement and sound design... in that sense maybe more from the school of Wendy Carlos and the like.
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  22. #22
    Waiting for Cousteau is my favorite by JMJ. Never warmed up to his other works, as I prefer "deeper immersion" when compared to more pop/dance-oriented works. The Calypso tracks are meh (except for the first one) but the mammoth last track is glorious!
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  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Azol View Post
    Waiting for Cousteau is my favorite by JMJ. Never warmed up to his other works, as I prefer "deeper immersion" when compared to more pop/dance-oriented works. The Calypso tracks are meh (except for the first one) but the mammoth last track is glorious!
    I came to JMJ right with his first two albums and kept on following him along his path. It was Rendez-vous which I bought in the release week and that album has remained a favourite of mine although his earlier works are better. (As I am typing this I am watching the launch preparation of SpaceX Crew Dragon / Falcon 9 missing). The follow up to Rendez-Vous was Revolutions and that one was quite a dissappointment to be honest. So by the time of the release of Waiting For Costeau I didn't have a lot of expectations but from the first notes I was getting really excited and that remained for the entire album. I loved the upbeat nature of the Calypso pieces and the title piece Waiting For Cousteau is quite an experience.

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    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    I only have (and like) Zoolook .

    He is generally to mellow, easy listening, mainstream, predictable to my ears.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Azol View Post
    Waiting for Cousteau is my favorite by JMJ. Never warmed up to his other works, as I prefer "deeper immersion" when compared to more pop/dance-oriented works. The Calypso tracks are meh (except for the first one) but the mammoth last track is glorious!
    The last track of that album is boring. It goes on and on and on and on and on and on without variation. One could double the lenght without much problems.

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