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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

JEAN-MICHEL JARRE: Equinoxe (1978)

Updated: Jan 20, 2021

“Equinoxe is a splendid album with a great cosmic canvas whose only defect is to be preceded by Oxygene”

1 Equinoxe Part 1 (2:23)

2 Equinoxe Part 2 (5:01)

3 Equinoxe Part 3 (5:11)

4 Equinoxe Part 4 (6:54)

5 Equinoxe Part 5 (3:47)

6 Equinoxe Part 6 (3:23)

7 Equinoxe Part 7 (7:24)

8 Equinoxe Part 8 (5:04)

Disques Dreyfus ‎– FDM 83150

(CD 38:53) (V.F.)

(French Cosmic Rock)

After a mega global success like Oxygene, the bar was rather high for Jean-Michel Jarre. He undertakes another concept album that represents the 24 hours of a day. EQUINOXE! Each part of the album represents a different moment of the day and the night with a panoply of cosmic rhythms, sometimes slow and sometimes supported, in accordance with the desire of the French musician who has sold EQUINOXE for more than 10 million copies. Not that bad!

A wave and its reverberations extend its bed of resonances, hosting a layer of synth whose echo effect multiplies in a jerky ambient flow. Its elements waltz elegantly in a sphere parallel to sleep in order to get us out of our long night nap. They juxtapose each other in order to create a dense cloud of opaque music with these waves that agglutinate in a sound mass more and more intense, and quietly drifting towards a gentle ambient movement, like the after sleep where one would like everything to be relax. The accuracy of the morning amazement is punctual with its harmonious bits that float around our awakening. Equinoxe Part 2 is serene and soothing with its sound effects that are rocked by a sweet mellotron and that made the nobility of his first album. The movement sucks us into the quietest corners of our being where we take the time to admire the delicate impacts of the synth waves which quietly turn into a cosmic ballet with temperate movements. Crystalline keys get stir in the opening of Equinoxe Part 3. The movement is limpid and waltz in a void filled of cosmic tones which react at contacts, like marbles of tones weakened. The cosmic canvas is very realistic on EQUINOXE which seems to drift constantly while being attracted by the reality of everyday life. We feel the basics of a rhythm getting start with a delicate tempo that goes up and down while maintaining its melodious approach before being slowed down by a static flow, thus initiating the jerky flow of Equinox Part 4. Second big hit of Jean-Michel Jarre, Equinoxe Part 4 brings a breath of rhythmic freshness with bass tone sequences that gives a roundness to a rhythm built in an environment that is as complex as harmonious with its synth melody that connects us to another earworm, in the Oxygene tradition. The synth is catchy, the atmosphere is fascinating but the structure that surrounds it is superbly expanded around the flow of cosmic noises, metal castanets and gasified percussions always frolic in a cosmic atmosphere poured by a synth with different harmonious lines. Simply superb!

Equinoxe Part 5 starts with a thunderclap. The rhythm explodes like clapping of hands on a frenzied structure, crossed by a plethora of sound effects. A rhythmic anarchy fed by a synth with splendid melodious lines and solos that sounds like a strange cosmic organ. The structure deviates gently towards Equinoxe Part 6, which is nothing more than a skeleton. The chords are scattered and merged into sparse percussions which aromatize the loudspeakers of an unusual sound richness. It's an awesome electronic dialect that continues lasciviously on the sumptuous Equinoxe Part 7 and its slow metamorphosis of a tempo eroded by his indiscipline. A tempo that swirls under good layers of an oneiric synth, a mellotron that sings a sci-fi tune and felted percussions that clash together under a shower of sound effects in constant boiling. The stereo effect is superb here on this rhythm that goes up and down, leaves and comes back, like a musical snake with two heads. It will fade on the banks, and its waves, of an ocean whose shape belongs to dreams and to Equinoxe Part 8 which concludes, like in Oxygene part 6, this day in the life of an Earthman with a rumba, or its kind. A nursery rhyme for acrobats that flows in our ears still infiltrated by a fine rain, thunders and water. And EQUINOXE stops all musical life under its last notes, vestiges of the whole structure of this superb album whose only defect is to be preceded by Oxygene.

Sylvain Lupari (October 11th, 2006) *****

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