eMusic Review 0
It's often forgotten that at the height of the mid-'70s punk media frenzy, the artists who sold records in significant quantities were not punks. Mainstream rockers like Fleetwood Mac and flat-out popsters like Debbie Boone ruled the roost. And right up alongside them was Jean Michel Jarre — arguably the most revolutionary popular musician of that period.
The son of revered film score composer Maurice Jarre (Dr. Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia), Jean Michel was a French synthesiser wiz with a penchant for writing lengthy instrumental suites. It's hard now to convey the shock of experiencing Oxygene for the first time, but to hear those extended electronic arpeggios, those unidentifiable sounds and curiously mutated quasi-orchestral textures flowing out of a radio in 1976 was like discovering champagne after a lifetime of diet cola.
Even as someone already in thrall to Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream and Ashra, and as an early devotee of US pioneers like Tonto's Expanding Head Band, it had never occurred to me that someone could make a 100% electronic music album that the public would lap up. Where Jarre got it right was in his determination to make the music as accessible as it was innovative. He harnessed state-of-the-art electronics… read more »