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                         Click on the cover to start listening to Oxygène IV.

Oxygène by Jean-Michel Jarre is one of my all-time favorite album.  I heard Part IV first on the British singles chart in 1977, and made me a fan of electronic instrumental music.  The album has 6 tracks, named by numbers sequentially, and can be enjoyed from beginning to end as one long piece (or two pieces when it was first released as a black vinyl LP). Made with numerous at-the-time state-of-the-art analogue synthesizers, the instrument list was closely studied by many.

Oxygène IV has been the most successful track and it opened the B-side of the LP.  Listen by clicking on the album cover above, put on your headphones. It will be breathtaking (pun intended).

The music is mersmerizing without putting one to sleep (as many of the current crop of electronic music will do).  Rather, it holds your attention and take you to a dynamic space.  Unlike many electronic music, the pieces do not feel cold.  It will make your head spin with its stereo effects if listening with headphones. It depicts the act of breathing without reproducing the exact sound of it.  Some of the bubbly/bouncy effects makes me think of the rhythmic action of a pneumatic medical device that is hooked up to a dying patient.

Not only is the graphic art on the album cover stunning and it accurately interpreted the music. Don’t know if you can see the white strands of connective tissue stretching and peeling/tearing away from the skull.  Certain hissing/sucking sounds in the music conjure up that very visceral image.

Given the sounds, the album cannot be better named.

The track which follows Oxygène IV in the album, Oxygène V (duh) is also available online. The first five minutes of it consist of calming church music but the remaining five minutes is pulsating and trance-inducing, and ends with a series of big wave sounds starting at 8:50.  It is a precursor to all the progressive trance and chilled music that was popular in the late 90’s.

“Oxygène 7-13” (1997) is a sequel of the first “Oxygène”.  It was released twenty years later, although Jean-Michel Jarre had made more albums in between.

As a bonus, below is Oxygène 7 (about 11 minutes long). This track opens the sequel and is the first thing in the series that fans heard after 20 years (hence, the opening 4-notes tease).  Have a listen and compare with Oxygène IV.  Part IV is still better in my opinion.


One Comment

  1. Hey, Chris. I tried clicking the album cover but there was no such video on YouTube anymore…

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