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JMJ Oxygene IV cover on vintage synths

Submitted by on November 20, 2009 – 11:46 am One Comment

I have to credit Jean-Michel Jarre as being one of my inspirations to get into synths a long time ago.  The first time I heard Oxygene, my eyes were opened to a new type of music and sounds.

As JMJ has always had a massive studio at his disposal, full of rare and expensive vintage synths, it’s difficult to capture the sound of his music from Oxygene if you have a modest studio.

Below is a fantastic cover of Oxygene IV (my favorite track from the 1976 album), done with much of the same gear that Jean-Michel Jarre used on the original song. It’s actually an extended version of the song, at 6 minutes long.

The entire track was played by hand and recorded onto multitrack without MIDI – like Jarre did in 1976.


Here’s the gear list:

Eminent 310 U (for the strings and pads with Small Stone)
Korg Minipops 7 Ddrumbox
Arp Odyssey (brass-like lead sound)
Korg MS-20 (bass)
Moog Micromoog for the sequencer sound, white noise FX and the lead sound with ELECTRIC MISTRESS flanger.

I used some of the original Instruments from Oxygene (Korg Minipops 7, Eminent 310, Small Stone) and some other synths (I don’t have a RMI or an ARP 2600). However, the ARP Odyssey that I used is the small brother of the 2600 and its basic sound is similar). For the RMI sounds I used the Micromoog, which has very fast envelopes.

There are many Oxygene 4 covers on YouTube… but to come as close to the original as this, you need analog equipment – you will not get such a sound from digital stuff, vst plugins…

How true. It’s very clear it is definitely necessary to use the original analog synths to get this sound. The toughest sound to get is the RMI sound (at around 1:36). This sound is pretty unique and is extremely difficult to emulate if you don’t have an RMI (and good luck finding one). Having said that, I think that the Micromoog gets closer to that sound that anything I’ve heard before.

You can hear the Jean-Michel playing it live right here. This is taken from the amazing “Live in your living room” DVD – if you’re a JMJ fan or if you are a synth nut, you definitely have to pick up a copy here. It’s even filmed in 3D.

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