Released in May 1981, Magnetic Fields (Les Chants Magnetiques) was
Jean Michel Jarre's fifth album and reached #6 in the UK and #98 in the
U.S. The follow-up to Equinoxe saw a slight change in direction for the
French composer with the addition of sampling. In fact, this was one of
the first recordings of the 80's to feature samples - a great example of early 80s electronica.
As with many of Jarre's earlier releases, the album featured one track split into several parts. Side One (It's easy to forget that before Compact Discs there were two sides to an album!) featured Magnetic Fields Part 1, which was 17 minutes and 49 seconds long. Side Two featured Part 2 (3.59), Part 3 (4.15), Part 4 (6.18) and Part 5 (The Last Rumba) (3.30).
Personally, I found Part 1 to be the best track on the album, which is
close to eighteen minutes of sublime, almost trippy ambience. Not all of
the album is like this, though. At times the music ventures into
controversial, cheesy synth pop, particularly Part 5 which sounds like
it's been created using a rumba preset from a Casio keyboard. All of
Jarre's earlier works featured at least one track similar to this one,
and it is something you either love or hate.
Jarre's earlier work is considered his best - Oxygene remains the ultimate Jarre album - as he was still experimenting with analogue synths, vocoders and drum machines. Indeed, many of today's artists can only dream of creating some of the sound's that this guy was creating way back in the 70's - he must have been doing something right, as he's sold over 80 million records Worldwide!
This video features a remix of the 70s electronica classic Oxygene 2. Jean Michel Jarre's Oxygene album was electronic perfection, with tracks 2 and 4 being my absolute favourities. But I've always wanted to be able to dance to his music, and Steffen Schuhrke has done a fine job of remixing Oxygene 2 into a dance anthem, whilst keeping the majority of the ambience of the original track intact.
Oxygene 2 was originally released as a single in 1977. It was, of course, lifted from the Oxygene album. This was an instrumental electronica masterpiece that Jarre recorded at home (quite an acheivement in the 70s), and it gave him his first taste of commercial success. The album reached #2 in the UK during 1976 and topped the charts in his home country of France.
If you are a fan of electronic music and you've never listened to Oxygene or been to one of Jarre's concerts then you haven't lived! Quite simply, the album it's one of the most influential pieces of electronica ever released.
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