6-part epic from French electronic master
Released in 1977 on Polydor Records (2310 555), Oxygene cemented Jarre's place at the top of the electronic scene. Probably the most famous of the tracks is Oxygene Part IV, everyone's heard it – even if they're unaware it's Jarre. It's a bit like how people say they've not heard anything by Tangerine Dream but they've heard the theme from Streethawk.
The record starts off with the sweeping, futuristic Oxygene Part I – this track reminds me of H.G. Wells' The Time Machine for some reason, almost utopian – with a shimmering lead track over the top of 'pops' of synth leads to a more booming, uplifting sequence before becoming quieter and puls-ier. Part II picks up the pace, the rythmic bass carrying the listener along Pink Floyd-like before launching into a high-pitched melodic synth section.
Part IV needs no introduction (there's a YouTube clip below for those who are unfamiliar with it) and the album slows down again for Part V, with a more contemplatative melody before launching into a repetitive pattern without notice; the rythmn track switching channels constantly before two lead tracks intertwine to form a multi-layered epic before culminating in swooping wind-like waves and seagulls. Close your eyes and you're on a sunkissed beach anywhere in the world. Part VI seamlessly enters with the beach-like backing from Part V remaining throughout.
The glossy sleeve artwork was designed by Michel Granger and depicts the layers of the earth being peeled back to reveal a human skull. Are human beings the center of the earth? The rear sleeve picture of Jarre was taken by David Bailey. Standard red Polydor labels have Britco and Disques Motors credits as well as a prominent 'Made in England' stamp.
It's a good album, copies are plentiful and can be got for less than the price of a pint. No brainer really.
1. Oxygene (Part I)
2. Oxygene (Part II)
3. Oxygene (Part III)
1. Oxygene (Part IV)
2. Oxygene (Part V)
3. Oxygene (Part VI)
Side 1 – 2310555 A//2 P 14 5
Side 2 – 2310555 B//2 P 12 15