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Jean-Michel Jarre – 10 of the best | Musique Non Stop

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Jean-Michel Jarre – 10 of the best

With the release of the final album of his Oxygène trilogy planned for December, it’s time to list 10 of the best of the electronic composer’s oevre

Jean-Michel André Jarre learned his trade under the giants of musical abstraction, Pierre Schaeffer, Pierre Henry and Karlheinz Stockhausen, but it was when he decided to pepper his avant garde musings with strong flourishes of melody that things started to happen for him. The Lyon-born musician had played guitar in a couple of bands, and released two electronic albums under his own name to little fanfare (including the soundtrack to the 1973 film Les Granges Brûlées). It must have been a surprise then, when a third album recorded at home with an eight-track and some analogue synthesisers – Oxygène – made him an huge star shortly after it was released internationally in 1977 [it came out in France in December 1976]. Oxygène went on to sell 14m copies, a remarkable feat when one considers some of the tracks are impressionistic experiments, full of space noise and static. In fact, Jarre has shifted something in the region of 80m albums across his career, more than, say, Duran Duran, which is quite an achievement for a French solo artist who doesn’t sing. If he has a signature tune, then it has to be Oxygène (Part IV) – an instantly recognisable hook that hitches a ride on a bossa nova beat in order to explore the galaxies.

Related: Jean-Michel Jarre: ‘All the people on my new album are geeks’

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by Jeremy Allen via Electronic music | The Guardian