Today I’m going to finish my review of what isn’t known as the Oxygene Trilogy by Jean Michel Jarre. Not content with failing to do the original Oxygene justice with the follow-up, Jarre then went and got a selection of DJs and remixers to add their spin to various tracks from Oxygene 7-13. Mainly, if we’re honest, Oxygene 8, that being one of the more melodic tracks from the selection.
Odyssey Through O2 is presented in three phases (although what the difference is between the three would probably take more of an expert on these things than me to say), and the whole is strung together by French DJ Claude Monnet in such a way that it does have the same sort of flow from one track to the next that you would expect from a Jarre album.
Unfortunately, that is about all this has in common with a typical Jarre album. Phase 1 presents Oxygene 10 with a decidedly Eastern feel, and isn’t that bad as an opener, but it is followed by a barely recognisable mix of Oxygene 7 and a couple of versions of Oxygene 8, which do at least keep some of the spaceyness of the original.
Phase 2 starts out promisingly but somehow manages to descend into generic dance music; some of it isn’t discernibly Jarre, some of it is plain disappointing, but some of it isn’t that bad – the Sunday Club remix of Oxygene 8 sounds enough like the original to be likeable, has the kind of spacey bits I so like about the Oxygene saga, and adds a beat over it that makes it even more epic as writing music.
Phase 3, for me, is where the good stuff is. A short and spacey remix of Oxygene 11 segues straight into a more epic mix of Oxygene 12 and an industrial house version of Oxygene 8, and then out into the closing piece, about a minute of classic, ambient Oxygene.
For some reason, tacked on after that as a ‘bonus’, you get the World Cup ’98 version of Rendez-Vous IV mixed by Apollo440, which is just a huge disappointment because it’s a great tune, and the remix should have been epic, but instead destroyed almost all of the original tune.
Thankfully that isn’t quite the end of the story, for tacked on after the bonus is Oxygene 13 TK Remix, which while not in the same league as the original, is more faithful to the original than some of the tracks here, mixed into a decent, upbeat track, almost certain to be the soundtrack to many a chase scene in my forthcoming writing.
Stand-out track: Ironically, my favourite Jarre remix is The Orb’s version of Oxygene 8, which Jarre refused to include because it didn’t keep enough of the original material (more on that next time). Even out of those that made the cut, I’m picking the bonus track, Oxygene 13 TK Remix, as my favourite track.
Odyssey Through O2 is very much a mixed bag; a few good tracks, but most just useful as background noise with more of a beat than regular Jarre. Certainly not an album to just sit and enjoy.