Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygene 3
What? What? No, seriously. This is excellent. Sure, the very mention of the man's name conjures a picture of excess forever associated with a particular era of gung-ho materialism, defined by concerts whose unfathomable vastness saw them take place not in stadiums but in places: Docklands, Moscow (just Moscow – attendance 3.5 million) and the Sahara. Anything dipping below the population of Scotland is Jean-Michel Jarre's equivalent of a fanclub pre-tour warm-up.
You might well choose to mock his various dalliances with the likes of laser harps and – ugh – keytars, but his long-term influence is inarguable and without those ground-breaking early works, many subsequently feted provocateurs wouldn't know a Roland D50 from Roland Rat.
Jarre's original Oxygene, his 1976 debut, is still the best-selling French album of all time. Pass on the comic opportunities that fact offers up and focus on something altogether more edifying, namely: Oxygene 3 is a minimalist – and exquisitely melancholy – wonder. A 40-year anniversary tribute to the original that remains true to its electronic spirit and grounded in its melodic tradition, it does what all good sequels should do: stands alone on its own merits and sends you back to the original with newly opened eyes.
Listen to: Oxygene 17, Oxygene 20