Harmony of Equinoxe
We can imagine reaction of people when they had heard the first album of Jean Michel Jarre Oxygene. It seemed to be the top, and synthesizers will never sing with that graphic strength and power again. But it turned out that the first album is ‘only’ a breack camping of alpinists before climbing to the Pobeda Peak. When I think about human acheivements in music, I see big mountain country where Peaks are the tops of creation of different composers. Jean Michel Jarre is the mountain chain. And his second album Equinoxe glares on it with blinding light.
The beginning of the album is very similar to the beginning of Oxygene and instruments are similar too. But in Oxygene we can see the newborn world that was weak and not disigned that time, but with happy presentiment, premonition of newborn life. And in the new album the cycle repeats on the new quality level. During the 4 milliard years Earth passed all levels of geological and biological evolution. So there is some predictability in the beginning.
Thus: First rays of the Sun are breaking throught the atmosphere. After the playing of rays the Sun is rising (0.38) and heaving upper and upper. Rays are warming sky and soil. But soon on the background of murmuring water final accords are sounding. The first part of Equinoxe symbolizes leaving summer.
The second part begins with a puff of cold autumn wind. Rain is falling, or mayde there are brooks after the autumn rain. There is no clear blue sky – only memories about it. Now only gray clouds swimming through the sky and fine rain is pouring and pouring. Cool wind carrying fallen leaves through the fields. Smells like melancholy and loneliness. The music is becoming more and more slow carrying breath of autumn. Flying flocks of birds strengthens our impressions (espesially on 3.33). Animate nature gradually humbling with elements, preparing for the sleep. Day light compared with dark night. Autumn equinox. Now, on 4.15 there is frosty north wind. The wash in the third part making the feeling of freshness and the winter is coming.
Snowflakes are spinning in the air, the music taking more buoyant character, clear snow is glancing in the sunlight, and icicles are shimmering with all colors of rainbow. The Sun is overhanging low over the horizon. The lullaby blowing sensation of peace, nature is sleeping, relaxing. Since 3.24 periodical bell ringing announcing the time of the winter slostice, the Sun is setting, long polar night is beginning. All around is freezing and standing motionless, the life is plunging into hibernation. Only tireless underground thermal springs are making gurgling sounds, taking steam and hot water away to the surface of the Earth.
Part 4: Stars are coming out, northern lights are blazing. People who have seen that wonderful phenomenon understand me. The whole point is that lights don’t stands motionless. They live, flicker, shimmer, toss from one side of the sky to another, rotate and emit rays of light. It is simply impossible to divert from the sight. Salutes, fireworks and laser shows can’t give us the feeling of true space show. And at some moments there is a feeling that streams of charged particles flies in the magnetic field of the Earth with insane speed. And all this performance runs by the invisible Sun, that sends solar space wind of charged particles.
On about 47th second there is a feeling that you have been shooted by a bowman straight to the open space. Right away your body loosing its weight and you are flying like in a dream, operating your flight through meteors. On the 2.15 you are making a short landing to strange mysterious planet, maybe Mars? And on the 2.40 you can hear enigmatic sounds from the space. Maybe there are messages from extraterrestrial intellect. And maybe it is an image of extraterrestrial civilization. During the rest of this part you have time to visit all sides of our Solar system. The rage of space colors amazes, I even say tires. On the 5th minute we can see how the Earth turns around the Sun – like in the astronomy manual. Maybe you remember the image from it, where there are 4 positions of the Earth regarding the Sun. Two of them are illustrations of equinox. This moment gives me the shivers – so strong the feeling of our planet’s moving – so permanent and continuous during milliards of years, like a huge clockwork, that have been started very long time ago and carries out its creator’s order slowly and duly.
Returning to the native Earth (evidently in the day of spring equinox) is imperceptible, like awakening from the sleep. Maybe it is a feeling of a cosmonaut who is awakening on the next morning after returning from the orbit. He feels all on the Earth especially sharp. But after the space silence and long parting with the Earth there is no more delectable than sounds and feelings of spring storm in the fifth part.
Jumping up (if it is possible) from bed space traveler running headlong through rain and storm, forgotten by happiness about danger of getting wet or thunderbolt. He is running on the pools, wet, but happy. His heart is beating amuck in wild ecstasy – happiness like that is rare event. Electrified air smells like ozone. The mood is like in ‘Spring run’ of Maugly. Reread this part of Kipling’s book – you won’t regret about it.
In the sixth part tired and happy earthman is turning to regular run, then to usual pace. He has returned, completely sated of Earth energy and has become like all people. He is thanking Earth nature non-stop for existing of it – so native planet. And for that he is a part of it.
It is a theme of the seventh part. The man who recently returned from the space remember, how beautiful was his planet seen from the space, how he couldn’t admire at it to his heart's content, ready for being hanging in front of bull’s eye of a spaceship. How many different planets he has seen, but life exists only on our Earth, and we can’t find more beautiful planet in the whole Universe than our native one. This cosmic magical images and feeling of reduced union with the Earth nature overfilling soul, turning into the feeling of love and thanking to it. Tears appears on his eyes because of sweeping over feelings, and it is not clear, why the face is so wet – because of the tears or because of the rain? The man cried because of feelings after the separation with the Earth, or the Earth cried because of the long separation with its son. The heart is calming after the run.
In the eight part the man returned home, densely closed windows and doors. Gradually the heavy shower is turning into usual rain. Floods are falling from roof, big drops clearly splashing through water in pools, water from drainpipe is pouring in strong stream. We still can hear leaving storm, how glasses in windows are clinking by thunderclaps. The man is starting his old gramophone and listening to old music (It is genius boon! The melody has been set into like matreshka.). Think - how powerfully it contrasts with the flying of the fourth part! The melody is like lullaby but in fact it is an old tango, that causes a painful nostalgia and a childish smile the same time. The man insensibly and calmly falling asleep lulled by the sounds of the rain and the gramophone. In dream he is seeing space that is sown with stars and in the centre our planet is revolving slowly, gradually moving away. Continents and oceans, overextended by white clouds here and there, are sailing. The show is beautiful and sad because of realizing that there will be a time when we will have to leave this cradle of life forever.
The final theme is blowing thoughts about our wonderful Earth, how it is beautiful, and now all beauties of it are in our hands. If we could save it, not break it and keep it for our descendants.
Oxygene symbolizes clear air, clear atmosphere. Equinoxe is permeated with the smell of ozone. I.e. it is the same oxygen, but more concentrated (O3). We can breathe it with pleasure, but only a few minutes without any harm to our health. – Just for the time after a storm, or for the time of playing Equinoxe. Listening to this album is making the same effect of depuration, catharsis. So, we can use this music like a background. But it carries away and excites properly. The album is worth to be called not only the best of Jean Michel Jarre’s discography but in all synthesizer music of the world for all times too. I think there will be investigations of Jean Michel Jarre’s music like investigations of a lot of poets. For example, poems by Pushkin ‘Evgeny Onegin’ and ‘Boris Godunov’. Preparing and ‘checking the harmony by algebra’ of classical work, scientists finds a lot of curious regularities, and there are dozens (!!!) of researching. The second album of Jean Michel Jarre is asking for being on the table of expert in music, because the album wasn’t simply created about equinox only as an equality of day and night, but about synthesis, harmony of contrasts too. And in its inner construction it is undoubtedly beautiful and harmonious.
Author: Alexander Burganov.
Перевод на английский: Антон Шамрин.