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Baker's Dozen

Oxygène Of Collaboration: Jean-Michel Jarre's Favourite Albums
Yousif Nur , October 20th, 2015 10:53

As he releases his first new material in eight years, the French composer, producer and laser harp maestro talks Yousif Nur through a Baker's Dozen of LPs by artists who shaped or collaborated on his Electronica albums


Air - Moon Safari
When Air released their first album, I said to myself, "Wow, I feel so close to these guys." We used to say to one another, as we worked on some electronica before: "There is some Oxygène in Air." There is obviously some kind of common denominator and what is it? You know, electronic music has nothing to do with jazz, blues or rock, nothing to do with America basically. It originally started in continental Europe: in Germany and France, with people like Pierre Schaeffer at the Groupe de Recherche de Musique Concrète; in Italy, with Luigi Russolo and his Art Of Noises manifesto; in Russia, with Léon Theremin, and so on. It all has a heritage of classical music. This long instrumental piece of music, not formatted as a pop song. When I started, for instance, you definitely had Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry and myself in France, Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk in Germany, and we all had different approaches to electronic music. The Germans had a cold, robotic style of philosophy, with Tangerine Dream leaving the stage with sequences showing that the machine is controlling us. I myself had more of an impressionist approach to sound, like doing soundscapes. I was also very influenced by artists such as Jackson Pollock, Pierre Soulages and other abstract painters, where you work in an intuitive way to create an emotional link, hijacking the technology for providing emotions.

When I heard Air, it was the same thing. In terms of the next generation, you have them, even Daft Punk I would consider in the same bracket. They all have this Romanesque, romantic or impressionist approach to sound, like Ravel, Debussy and all that. After Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk, you have the Berlin techno scene, with people such as Boys Noize - very noisy, very cold. Air also had this slightly nostalgic type of approach to music. It's like reading a French novel from the 19th century, but being surrounded by high-tech robots crying with emotions and heart - I love this mixture!