Doctor Mix recreates Jean-Michel Jarre's Oxygène Part 4
April 7, 2019 1:03 AM   Subscribe

Producer and musician Claudio Passavanti - from Doctor Mix - recreates Part 4 of Jean-Michel Jarre's Oxygène.

Oxygène was released in 1976 by Jarre who finally managed to get a limited pressing of 50,000 copies pressed. It received largely hostile reviews and went on to sell 15 million copies. Jarre got the album title - and general inspiration from this image of an "unpeeled earth" from artist Michel Granger. The motif for part 4 is based on Popcorn by Gershon Kingsley which was released back in 1969. Jarre used a Korg Mini Pops 7 Rhythm box (using sellotape to allow 2 presets "rumba" and "bossa nova" to play at once). Also an EMS VCS 3 synthesiser - amongst others. Jarre himself - with 3 other contributors - released a "live" performance of the whole album in 2007 - which you can see here. In 2018 he gave this interview describing how he made the album.

The production company Doctor Mix makes this youtube channel where they review devices and talk about techniques.

Previous post about Oxygène "As essential as the air we breathe"
posted by rongorongo (9 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
posted by evilDoug at 6:02 AM on April 7, 2019

Doctor Mix reminds me of a persistent fellow I met on holiday in Turkey one summer, who tried very hard to get off with my gf of the time. This colours my enjoyment of his videos. However, JMJ's music is generally easy enough to replicate if you wish, although I tend towards Bill Bailey's analysis...
posted by Devonian at 6:57 AM on April 7, 2019 [3 favorites]

Doctor Mix previously.
posted by zamboni at 7:17 AM on April 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

One more beautiful artifact from my childhood, I listened many many times, and the record cover is burned into memory. And like a lot of other European stuff at the time, it gave me hope for a science fiction future that was coming real soon, already underway across the Atlantic.

I know the 70s were shitty in a lot of ways, and after so much time here on MF I know I am repeating myself, but man,being denied the excellent future we were promised in the late 1970s, it is like a real pain in my heart that will never leave. Nostalgic for the future that never was. Fuck you 1980s and Reagan and greed.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:52 AM on April 7, 2019 [8 favorites]

Realy, it's like OMNI magazine in aural form.
posted by thelonius at 9:30 AM on April 7, 2019 [8 favorites]

Me too, Meatbomb. I listened to lots of Jarre when I was a teenager circa 1977-1982, and the music painted such pictures in my mind.
I think cyberpunk flowed naturally from that - at least, in my imagination and experience.
posted by doctornemo at 10:37 AM on April 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

The thing about recreating these tunes is that the technology was so much more limited back then, it would be a 3min video if he was using period instruments. Two or three single-track 16 step analog sequencers (probably using only 12 steps here) and a drum machine, I'm guessing (not too far off, just add a half-dozen unsequenced VCS3s). Then fingered notes over the top.
posted by rhizome at 11:10 AM on April 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

The thing about recreating these tunes is that the technology was so much more limited back then, it would be a 3min video if he was using period instruments

Jean Michelle Jarre recorded Oxygène in a home recording studio and doubled as his kitchen. So it is tempting to compare him with the vast crowds of people who do something like that these days. But that is a misleading comparison. Consider the instruments used for Oxygène: they were build for circumstances where they could be set up, programmed and maintained by an audio /electrical engineer in a recording studio that was funded by somebody with deep pockets and a flare for splurging on costly gadgets. As a musician and composer, if you could not hire such an engineer - you were going to have to break out the soldering iron and circuit diagrams and be one.

My guess is that Jarre was able to what he did by virtue of being the son of a film scoring composer (Maurice Jarre) and the grandson of an engineer with an eye for inventing things. Add to this, his attendance of the Conservatoire de Paris - where he was back in 1968 and where he was taught by "father of music concrète" Pierre Schaeffer . By the time he composed Oxygène , in1976, he was in his late 20s - but already had a career which included compositions for film, pop singers, ballet and commercials. The album may have been home made - but there were very few people around at that time who would have had the skills, experience and aptitudes to make it.
posted by rongorongo at 1:11 AM on April 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

(This is "La Cage" which Jarre released in 1969 - to give you an idea of how long he had been working in the field)
posted by rongorongo at 1:23 AM on April 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

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