23 April 2007
Interesting to read Simon Reynold's re-appraisal of the seventies 'cosmic' synth sound in yesterday's Observer Music Monthly. Not the sort of thing you might expect the Blissblogger to go public with, but still I bet most of my fellow contributors* here have been touched by this particular branch of electronica at some point in their lives. Kek has his fondness for Tonto's Expanding Headband. No doubt Loki has taken the odd 'shroom assisted flight to a Tangerine Dream soundtrack. Perhaps Psychbloke had a brief flirtation with that hairy Greek Vangelis in his youth. I've touched base with all those artists at some point (I recall the infamous frizbee throwing contest with a copy of Vangelis' 'China' back in my school days) but long before I ever discovered the hipster vanguard it was Jean-Michel Jarre who first seduced me into the realms of pure electronic sound.
Appropriately enough, I discovered Jarre whilst on holiday in France around the turn of the eighties. One of my Dad's friends allowed me to have a listen to his new gadget - a clunky item about the same size and weight as a house brick called a 'Sony Walkman'. The cassette was Jarre's "Equinox", and I can honestly say that my young mind was utterly blown and my senses completely ravished by the electronic sounds emanating from those daft little orange spongy earphones. What I heard during the twenty minutes I was allowed to use the Walkman probably coloured my future tastes more than anything else. The swooping filtery analogue melodies, the pitter-pattering electronic percussion, the sense of floating through entire new galaxies of sound...an audio rush that I've been trying to reach again and again ever since.
My love affair with Jarre was fairly brief. It lasted, in various states of intensity, through to the mid-80s "Zoolook" period (or so I thought - but when I checked earlier I found that I also had vinyl copies of the later "Rendez-vous" and "Revolutions", so perhaps my interest lasted longer than I care to remember). One of my favourite Jarre artifacts is also the first thing of his I ever bought - a 7 inch single celebrating his record-breaking one million audience for the Concorde concert in Paris. It features a live version of 'Equinox 7' that I prefer to the studio version because its a bit faster and the rhythm section is more prominent in the mix, giving the track a driving urgency, that's more immediately recognisable as a true sonic precursor to the electronic dance music we take for granted today...
*Contributors?! You're having a laugh, right? Even Loki seems to have lost the will to update this blog...where is everyone..?