Jean Michel Jarre - Oxygène

Oxygène is an album of instrumental electronic music composed, produced, and performed by the French composer Jean Michel Jarre. It was first released in France in December 1976, on Disques Dreyfus with license to Polydor. The album's international release was in summer 1977. Jarre recorded the album in his home using a variety of analog synthesizers and other electronic instruments and effects. It became a bestseller and was highly influential in the development of electronic music. It is Jarre's first mainstream success, and can be seen as his first true artist album. It has been described as the album that "led the synthesizer revolution of the Seventies."

Prior to 1976, Jarre had dabbled in a number of projects, including an unsuccessful synthesizer music album, advertising jingles and compositions for a ballet. His inspiration for Oxygène came from a painting by the artist Michel Granger that was given to him by his future wife Charlotte Rampling. The painting showed the Earth peeling to reveal a skull and Jarre obtained the artist's permission to use the image for this album.

Jarre composed Oxygène over a period of eight months using a number of analogue synthesizers and an eight-track recorder set up in the kitchen of his apartment. However, he found it difficult to get the record released, not least because it had "No singers, no proper [track] titles, just 'I', 'II', 'III', 'IV', 'V' and 'VI'".

In 1997, Jarre produced a sequel album called Oxygène 7–13. This refers to the original album as being the first six movements from a larger complete piece of work, despite the time difference between the release of the two albums. It was written in the same style and using some of the same instruments, although the work is much more uptempo. Jarre was clear about not trying to copy the mood or atmosphere from the original album, but using the same work approach to "create a mood later".


The plugin used relies heavily on HTML5 for mp3 playback and so far I get acceptable results only when using Google Chrome. I hope licensing issues will be solved for Mozilla Firefox someday.

Back to Jean Michel Jarre Music

Back to radio selection

Special thanks for the plug-in: Joseph Moore