Is Jean Michel Jarre’s Laserharp Fake? I think not!
Jean Michel Jarre is the guy who got me into electronic music. Oxygene was like nothing I’d ever head before, and some people even say that nothing that he’s done since has surpassed this album made in the 70′s with stacks of analogue synthesizers.
Jarre is know for his huge, elaborate concerts – one of the more interesting controllers he uses is the Laserharp. It’s a device that shines laser beams straight up, and when one of the lasers is blocked by a hand, it sends a signal to a synth to produce a note.
Some people have speculated that it’s completely fake and Jarre is simply pretending to ‘play’ it while a sequencer actually plays all the notes.
Here is a video with Paul Wiffen, the guy who programmed the preset sounds for the Elka Synthex used on the album Rendezvous, who claims that it’s fake (at around 0:30 in the video).
After watching the above video, check this one out below. It’s Jarre playing at Rendez-Vous 2 at the InDoors concert in Vorst Nationaal, Brussels, Belgium. The Laserharp is clearly malfunctioning, which in turn causes the melody that he’s attempting to play on the Elka Synthex to fail.
Fake? No way. It is interesting how cool Jean Michel Jarre acts handling the disaster. He plays around with a bit, shrugs his shoulders, tries to fix it and remains cool the entire time.
If you haven’t already, you really need to check out Oxygene – Live in your Living Room in 3D. It’s a video of Jarre in an intimate setting (actually a warehouse) re-creating Oxygene on the original instruments, live (with some help). It’s filmed in 3D and has more amazing vintage gear in one place than I can handle. It’s fascinating to watch how it was all created.