Tuesday Tunes: Equinoxe by Jean Michel Jarre

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You see what I did there? Equinoxe? On 23rd September? No? Oh, if you don’t get it, just forget it.

Anyway, enough nonsense, on with the music! Equinoxe is Jean Michel Jarre’s not-quite-as-impressive second album, and if Doctor Wikipedia is to be believed, reflects a day in the life of a human being. I’m not quite sure if I believe that… although Part 1 certainly wakes up quite slowly, so I suppose it’s conceivable. Might even work as writing music considered that way.

But that, of course, is for the literary fiction crowd; here we are far more interested in the slightly spacey moonwalk ambience of Part Two, which fades into twinkly and melodic Part Three (anybody spotting a theme with the track titles?) and, yes, thence on to Part Four, making the whole album somewhat difficult to review like this, but having set up the calendar-based pun, I feel the need to see it through.

Anyway, Equinoxe Part 4 is one of Jarre’s better known pieces, a great tune too many layers to do anything but just let the music wash over you. Part 5 opens side 2 (or it would have done in the old days) with a crash of thunder and another jolly and instantly recognisable tune, embellished with loads of little electronic flourishes which some might find over the top, but personally I can’t get enough!

Part 6 doesn’t really do much for me; and while Part 7 takes a while to find its own identity away from Part 6 (such is the seamless nature of Jarre’s segues), it settles down to become a pleasant bit of background music, with plenty of variety in tone without becoming intrusive.

The whole things rounds off with more thunder, and a little tune later reinvented as Band in the Rain, but here going by the much catchier title of Equinoxe Part 8. Unfortunately once the jolly French accordian player has done his turn, Part 8 reverts to a slowed down variation on Part 5, which is ok as it goes, but hardly an epic finale to the album as a whole.

Stand out track: for me, Part 5 is an easy winner, although the more ambient sound of Part 2 is a close runner up.

There is a lot of good stuff on Equinoxe, perhaps not quite as obscure and orchestral as Oxygene, but for me it just doesn’t quite hit the same spot as some of Jarre’s other albums.

Listen along

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