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Music / Jean-Michel Jarre

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Jean-Michel Jarre, October 1981, live in China. Yes, he gigged with a Fairlight.
"Music is the human treatment of sounds."

Jean-Michel André Jarre is a French electronic musician and multimedia performer, recognized as one of the most important pioneers in modern electronic music. He was born in Lyon on August 24, 1948 as the son of film score composer Maurice Jarre and France Pejot, a former Resistance member during World War II.

His musical career began in the late 1960s with two bands, one of which covered the Shadows and the Spotnicks with Jarre as as Strat-toting Hank Marvin stand-in and appeared in a nowadays obscure French movie. His first release was the single La Cage in 1971 which is so rare that it has grown more expensive than many synthesizers. It was followed by the not less rare album Deserted Palace (1972) and the movie soundtrack Les Granges Brûlées (1973). Over the 70s, Jarre did a couple of jobs in the music industry including TV and advertising music and composing the music and/or writing the lyrics (!) of French chansons/pop songs, partly in the wake of the disco era.

These jobs seem to have paid him enough to gather together a small home studio that he installed in one of his two kitchens—in a time when there were practically no home studios at all as opposed to today, and when all equipment including the synthesizers was hardware—and record his 1976 breakthrough album, Oxygène. This album, together with its 1978 successor Équinoxe, defined Jarre's Signature Style of electronic music that sounded nothing like it had been made with machines (as opposed to Kraftwerk, for example). The major labels saw no chance in instrumental electronic music being commercially successful, though, so Jarre released Oxygène through Les Disques Motors, a small jazz label, where it reached gold status within no time, putting Jarre on the map and leading Les Disques Motors to shift him over in 1978 to Disques Dreyfus, a newly-created splinter label for artists with potential for international success, on which he would remain until moving over to Warner Music in 2003. Since Jarre's music didn't fit into any established musical genre, the hit single "Oxygène 4" managed to top the U.S. pop, jazz, classical music, and country charts all at once; not bad for a French musician.

The people who bought Oxygène and Équinoxe have never gotten over Jarre leaving his Signature Style in The '80s, moving on with the development of electronic instruments, and trying new styles. Zoolook (1984, featuring Laurie Anderson, Marcus Miller, and Adrian Belew, just to name a few guest musicians) was heavily based on vocal samples from dozens of languages, Revolutions (1988) had more Roland D-50 written over it than anything ever made by Enya, Waiting For Cousteau (1990) was Jarre meets steel drums.

The 1993 album Chronology saw Jarre on his way back to the roots with the dance styles of The '90s combined with some analog synths and sounds used by Jarre in his more popular albums from The '70s; besides, it was Jarre's first album with all tracks given the album title and the track number as titles since Magnetic Fields (1981). Oxygène 7-13, released in 1997 (intended to be a 20-years-on-Oxygène anniversary album but delayed by several months) was thoroughly analog and an almost complete return to Jarre's Signature Style, weren't it for some more contemporary dance beats in some parts.

Metamorphoses (2000) was Jarre's first and only album with the majority of tracks having vocals and lyrics and being sung for a change, only two out of twelve tracks are Instrumentals. Once again, though, it didn't sound like anything Jarre had made before. Sessions 2000 (2002) was made of recorded electronic jazz-like jam sessions which Jarre put on a CD because he had to fulfill his album quota before he could get out of his record deal. His subsequent original releases (Geometry Of Love, 2003, Téo & Téa, 2007) turned out so weird that Jarre hardly ever played anything out of them at his concerts. Instead, he revived older material twice (he had to because his old recordings remained property of the jazz label). In 2004, Aero was released, a sort of Greatest Hits Album with three new tracks and the rest having been partly re-recorded and remixed in surround sound, and in 2007, Jarre and three of his co-musicians remade all of Oxygène live in one sitting, enabling the whole album to be performed live on stage.

Jarre probably keeps a negative record sales record with his 1983 album Music for Supermarkets, of which only one was produced and then sold at an auction. Jarre famously broadcast the entire album over the radio, encouraging listeners to pirate the broadcast, and publicly destroyed the master tapes and master plates, thus ensuring that the one LP copy of Music for Supermarkets was the only one in existence. However, Jarre did keep the multitrack recordings, and reused snippets of them in his later work.

A description of Jean-Michel Jarre wouldn't be complete without mentioning his concerts. Jarre took both lightshows and audience sizes up to eleven. His 1979 premiere concert with only him and some electronic instruments on a stage on the Place de la Concorde in Paris already gave him an entry in the Guinness Book of Records for the largest concert audience ever—one million. What they saw wasn't just a synth nerd in a keyboard castle but a show of lights and projections of previously unseen dimensions. In 1981, the British Embassy in the People's Republic of China got him to play five indoor concerts in Beijing and Shanghai as the first pop musician ever. Jarre's next live show in Houston, Texas, in 1986 was blown out of any proportions imaginable when he used just about all of downtown Houston's skyline as the backdrop (as in he had lights, laser projections, still images, and even movies shot onto the facades of several-100-feet-tall skyscrapers with skytrackers on their roofs and gigantic fireworks even above these) for a concert with which he beat his own record (more than 1.5 million spectators). He played a similar outdoor concert for Pope John Paul II in his hometown Lyons half a year later, he gave a show on a stage floating on the River Thames inmidst the ruins of the Queen Victoria Docks in London in 1988 during a phase of downright extremely bad weather, and he improved his own record a second time on a pyramid-shaped stage in front of Paris' brand-spanking-new skyscraper quarter La Défense in 1990 (for some 2.5 million people).

It took him until 1993 to actually tour for the first time, and even then, he only played a couple of shows throughout Europe because each of the huge custom-made open-air stages took several days to weld together. And it wasn't before 1997—two years after his third big show in Paris, this time under the Eiffel Tower—that he had a tour concept that fit onto existing stages in locations with a solid roof. Jarre's last giant show in a city was part of Moscow's 850th anniversary, played in front of the State University (the biggest building in all of Moscow, and the architecture of the Stalin era was impressively huge) and watched by at least 3.5 million people as the university can be seen all over the city. The millennium celebrations led him to the pyramids of Gizeh which of course were used as projection screens again. The 21st century saw him play a number of smaller single shows in places such as the Akropolis in Athens, a Danish windmill park, Tiananmen Square in Beijing, a legendary shipyard in Gdańsk, and the Moroccan desert; on the other hand, he played one tour per year from 2008 to 2011 where he kept shamelessly showcasing unbelievable amounts of mostly highly valuable vintage synthesizers.

In 2015, he started a project called Electronica in which he collaborated with a lot of big names in music, not only electronic music, such as Pete Townshend, Armin Van Buuren, Lang Lang, John Carpenter, Hans Zimmer, Tangerine Dream (their very last production with Edgar Froese), Air, Little Boots (herself a big Jarre fan), 3D, Moby, Vince Clarke, Gary Numan, Pet Shop Boys or Cyndi Lauper. "Exit" even includes a monologue by Edward Snowden.

Studio album releases:

  • "La Cage" (Single, 1971)
  • Deserted Palace (1972)
  • Les Granges Brûlées (soundtrack, 1973, re-released on CD 2003)
  • Oxygène (1976 in France, 1977 worldwide)
  • Équinoxe (1978)
  • Les Chants Magnétiques (Magnetic Fields) (1981)
  • Musique Pour Supermarché (Music for Supermarkets) (1983, only one official copy made)
  • Zoolook (1984)
  • Rendez-vous (1986)
  • Révolutions (Revolutions) (1988)
  • En Attendant Cousteau (Waiting for Cousteau) (1990)
  • Chronology (1993)
  • Oxygène 7-13 (re-titled Oxygène 2 in 2016) (1997)
  • Metamorphoses (2000)
  • Sessions 2000 (2002)
  • Geometry Of Love (2003)
  • Jarre In China (2004)
  • Aero (2004)
  • Téo & Téa (2007)
  • Oxygène – New Master Recording (2007)
  • Electronica 1 - The Time Machine (2015)
  • Electronica 2 - The Heart of Noise (2016)
  • Oxygène 3 (2016)
  • Équinoxe Infinity (2018)
  • Snapshots from EōN (2019)
  • Amazônia (2021)
  • Oxymore (2022)

Live Album releases:

  • Les Concerts En Chine (The Concerts in China) (1982)
  • In Concert Houston-Lyon/Cities In Concert (1987)
  • Jarre Live/Destination Docklands (1989)
  • Hong Kong (1994)

Miscellaneous album releases:

Live video releases:

  • Video Concert (VHS, 1980)
  • The China Concerts (VHS, 1989)
  • Rendez-vous Houston (VHS, 1989)
  • Rendez-vous Lyon (VHS, 1989)
  • Destination Docklands (VHS, 1989)
  • Paris La Défense (VHS, 1992)
  • Europe In Concert - Barcelona (VHS, 1994)
  • Concert pour la tolérance (LaserDisc, France only, 1995)
  • Oxygen In Moscow/Making The Steamroller Fly (VHS, 1998)
  • Oxygene Moscow/Making The Steamroller Fly (DVD, USA and Brazil only at first, 2000)
  • Live à Pékin (DVD, 2004)
  • Jarre In China (2 DVDs + 1 CD, the same concert but uncut on video, 2005, first live music DVD ever to be THX-certified)
  • Oxygène - Live In Your Living-Room (DVD, 2007, came with certain editions of the Oxygène 30th anniversary remake, recorded in an otherwise empty film studio rather than in front of an audience)

Tropes (Parts I-VI):

  • AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle: "Hey Gagarin" with vocoded vocals from Jarre himself. Unlike the correct Russian pronunciation, Jarre puts the emphasis in "Gagarin" on the last syllable. Justified in that the whole song is vocoded with a strong French accent, and in French, it's always the last syllable that's emphasized, and this happens to other words in it as well.
  • Album Closure: Jarre loves them slow and sometimes even somber which is also why it's often the last tracks on his albums that can be Tear Jerkers. There are exceptions, though, for example Magnetic Fields which ends with a number that Jarre has played completely on a home organ as a musical bird flipped at the music industry and Chronology which closes with a happy, danceable track.
    • One could say that Waiting For Cousteau itself already closes with "Calypso 3" although it's still followed by the over-45-minute-long title track which takes Ambient to all-new extremes.
  • All There in the Manual: You have to know the Rendez-vous Houston — A City In Concert concert video to know that the alleged KPRC-TV news broadcast on In Concert Houston/Lyon/Cities In Concert is actually from KHLU-TV.
    Jingle: KPRC-TV Houston
    — Cut from here on the albums —
    Anchor: Well, if the rain holds off, Houston's annual rite-of-spring should be a very good one. Houston Festival '86 is under way.
    Jingle: This is KHLU-TV Houston
    — Cut until here on the albums —
    Anchor: Well, Houston's skyline is about to be transformed into a backdrop with the biggest laser light show ever seen in America!
  • Alternate Album Cover: Equinoxe Infinity came out with two different covers at the same time, both picking up the "watcher" theme from Equinoxe again. One depicts a good future where the watchers exist in a pastoral landscape, while the other depicts a bad future where they stand amid a post-apocalyptic desert full of orange smog.
  • Annual Title: Sessions 2000, or so it seems since the album came out in 2002. It was recorded in 2000, though, and the tracks have their recording dates for titles.
  • Audience Participation: "Revolution, Revolutions" when played at a gig in the United Kingdom, Manchester in particular.
  • Autobiography: Melancholic Rodeo, published in 2019, is more this than anything that came before it such as Making The Steamroller Fly.
  • Big Rock Ending: Used to be pulled off with certain songs at live shows, especially "Fourth Rendez-vous" at Rendez-vous Houston.
  • Bizarre Instrument: Subverted in a sense by many instruments designed for Jarre because they were actually functional. The Laser Harp is a perfect example—even today, many people don't believe it is actually playable.
    • M. Jarre has had more than one laser harp since he started using them - they have been upgraded and replaced as technology has improved (for instance, earlier models were built into a podium with an overhead truss to intercept the beams). The current models may well function as implied, but some of the older ones plainly didn't (c.f. the London Docklands concert, where one of his hands drifted out of its beam without affecting the sustained note he was trying to hold).
    • The teensy-tiny (and of course playable) laser harp that Jarre had in his 2011 live rig (along with the usual big one) was kind of strange even for Jarre, though.
    • Also, there are the Theremin (see below) and the Cristal Baschet, but all of these are playable, too.
    • The most bizarre piece of equipment for normal standards ever put on a Jarre stage has to be the Meuble a.k.a. Grand Central created by French guitar (and then also keytar) builder Lag for Destination Docklands. It wasn't just a prop, though. It had three playable keybeds (plus the foil keyboard on one of the two integrated EMS Synthi AKS), it contained a Roland D-550 (the then-recent album Revolutions contained more D-50 and its expander version D-550 than everything else combined), a Fairlight CMI and a Dynacord ADD-One drum module, and it housed an Atari 520 ST which was at least used for sheet music (Notator), if not even for MIDI sequencing (Cubase).
    • So keytars were nothing out of the ordinary by the late 80s. What did Jarre do? He had three completely custom ones built, one looking like an insect, two semi-circular ones. Again, not just show props, but actually with technical features that production keytars tend to lack such as polyphonic aftertouch.
    • For Jarre's standards, a barrel organ would be bizarre all right. Came the 1993 Europe In Concert tour...
  • Boxed Set: To commemorate the tenth anniversary of Oxygène, Jarre released an eponymous box set in 1987 (one year after the album's decennial) on LP, CD, and cassette containing all of his studio albums from that one to Rendez-Vous, plus the live albums The Concerts in China and Cities in Concert: Houston/Lyon (an expanded version of In Concert Houston/Lyon). In 1989, the set was reissued exclusively in France as Les Années Laser, adding in Revolutions and Jarre Live.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Jarre's concert videos have some interesting instances.
    • Paris La Défense: Charlotte Rampling (yes, the famous British actress and Jarre's then-wife), on stage for taking concert photographs, glances at the camera while holding hers. As if an actress didn't know better.
    • Destination Docklands tops this even: The show took place during heavy rain. A live camera is pulled down and has its lens wiped dry. This was intentionally made part of the final cut of the concert video.
  • Call-and-Response Song: Done with two synthesizers on "Oxygène 12".
  • Compilation Re Release: Done several times already, not only with single pieces of music (most notably on the Essentials & Rarities compilation), but also with whole albums.
    • The Laser Years was a box of all Jarre albums released to that point, but it also exclusively (until more than ten years later) contained Cities In Concert which is the same as In Concert Houston-Lyon, but with all music uncut.
    • When Oxygène 7-13 was released, it also came out as a limited-edition double album titled The Complete Oxygène containing both Oxygènes and the new one with a remix of Oxygène 12 as a bonus track.
    • When Oxygène 3 came out, a box with all three Oxygènes (Oxygène 7-13 renamed Oxygène 2 with its cover matched to the other two albums) was released to celebrate Oxygène's 40th anniversary (and to make it easier for new Jarre fans to start collecting his albums because the box is cheaper than the three single albums). It does not, however, contain Oxygène – New Master Recording or the video Oxygène – Live In Your Living-Room.
  • Concept Album:
    • Oxygène is about the environment, indicated by its airy sound and its cover art depicting the Earth peeling away to reveal a skull.
    • Équinoxe focuses primarily on the water and seasons. Water-themed sounds prominently feature throughout the record, from the wave-like warbles throughout side A to the thunderclaps that open Part 5 to the rainfall that opens Part 8, with this first section of the final track being appropriately titled "Band in the Rain" in concert, and the structure of the album mimics the passage of spring, summer, fall, and winter with its marked differences in both tempo and tone from track to track.
    • Zoolook is based around the human voice, using the Fairlight CMI and E-mu Emulator to incorporate a variety of vocal samples from across languages, ranging from newly recorded ones to presets like the Fairlight's "ARR1" (a compressed recording of Melismatic Vocals).
    • Revolutions is about, well, revolutions, ranging from socioeconomic changes like the Industrial Revolution to political revolutions, with the back cover including a dedication to murdered anti-apartheid activist Dulcie September.
    • Waiting for Cousteau is a tribute to oceanographer Jacques Cousteau and the play Waiting for Godot, emphasized by its tropical sound and its lengthy, seemingly endless Title Track.
  • Cover Version: Yes, Jarre has been not only remixed, but also covered a lot over the time, and not only by Ed Starink.
    • The best example would be The Shadows. One of Jarre's school-time bands covered the Shadows in the late 1960s with Jarre as Hank Marvin. The Shadows covered Jarre's "Equinoxe 5" (actually parts "5" through "7") in 1980. In 1988, Jarre got Hank Marvin to collaborate on the track "London Kid" from Revolutions. In 1993, Hank Marvin took his Fiesta red Stratocaster and covered "Oxygène 4".
    • Even after Oxygène, Jarre himself isn't beyond covering, although the few examples have been parts of concerts. "Fishing Junks at Sunset", played at most of Jarre's shows in China, is a reworked piece of classical Chinese music, something even some die-hard fans don't know. "Salma Ya Salama" from the millennium The Twelve Dreams of the Sun is a covered Dalida song. And several songs from the Gdańsk show Space of Freedom aren't composed by Jarre either.
    • Jarre's son David played some pieces from Rendez-vous on a small Korg arranger keyboard which his father then mixed into "Rendez-vous 5 Part 2". This means the covers were released on the same album as the originals.
    • The German Heavy Metal band Helloween made a cover of "Magnetic Fields 2". Unfortunately, it was only available on the Japanese version of The Time Of The Oath.
    • Vertigo's dance cover of "Oxygène 4" managed to chart in 1997. That was in the middle of the remix craze when the Jarre fans referred to it as a "remix".
    • When Helios released their dance version of "Equinoxe 4" in 1998, they kept explaining in interviews that it's a cover and not a remix.
    • Jarre was covered a lot in the Commodore64 music scene, probably more so than any other artist.
    • In 1972, Jarre himself covered "Pop Corn" by Gershon Kingsley or rather Hot Butter's mega-hit cover under the name "Pop Corn Orchestra".
    • Speaking of which, here's an interesting aversion: There's a song named "Black Bird" written by one Jamie Jefferson that was released in 1972 as a B-side to "Pop Corn" by the Pop Corn Orchestra, an obvious one-man band with Jefferson as the only credited member. Next, it was released as a B-side to "Zig-Zag Dance" by the Foggy Joe Band in 1973. It returned on the bootleg compilation Rarities 2 as performed by Jefferson himself in 1995. It's all just one and the same recording from '72, and both Jamie Jefferson and the Pop Corn Orchestra (Jefferson was credited as the Pop Corn Orchestra's sole member) and the Foggy Joe Band were Jarre himself. Finally, the 2011 compilation Essentials & Rarities included "Black Bird" with Jarre credited as both the artist and the composer.
    • "Zig-Zag Dance" itself turned out so corny that it was quickly covered countless times, both with vocals and as instrumentals.
    • Last but not least, there are many covers by Jarre fans who often take it upon themselves to copy the original as precisely as humanly possible.
  • Dedication: Jarre loves to dedicate pieces of music, albums, even whole concerts to people. Revolutions, however, takes it to the extreme.
    This record is dedicated to all the children of the revolution,
    to the children of the Industrial Revolution,
    to those of the 1960's and the computer age,
    to the children of emigrants
    and to those of Dulcie September.
  • Didn't Think This Through: The traffic situations that some of Jarre's outdoor concerts led to.
    • Staging a Europe In Concert show at Mont St. Michel promised one gorgeous concert, but getting tens of thousands of people there and back again was nigh-impossible. Many people couldn't make use of their concert tickets because it was simply impossible to get to the island in time because the only bridge was completely clogged. It didn't help that many spectators arrived in time for a concert at some stadium in the middle of a city, but not for this remote venue.
    • Aero took place in a Danish windmill park, and the audience stood on a field. The ground was not only muddy, but even softer than at your usual festival. Since fields were the only available parking-lots as well, lots of cars got stuck in the mud, and nearby farmers had to be called in the middle of the night to tow them out with their tractors.
    • Rendez-vous Houston happened in the middle of a U.S. metropolis with a decent freeway network. But even that had to succumb to the massive audience: The spectators got to their viewing-places all over the day, and even then, they were so many that they clogged several freeways to the point of the police having to close them. But once the gig was over, a good 1.5 million people wanted to go home all at the same time, the vast majority of them by private automobile. But then again, nothing like Rendez-vous Houston had ever been done before, Jarre had never played a concert in the USA before, and nobody could even estimate how many people would come and see it.
    • A different case was Destination Docklands which was originally planned to have at least four million spectators, more than any concert that has actually taken place until today. However, they would all have been bunched up in the ruins of the Queen Victoria Docks. There was enough space for so many people, that wasn't the problem, but medical staff wouldn't have had a chance to get to cases of emergency quickly enough in such a huge crowd. It took the authorities' refusal to let this concert happen for this reason for the planners to realize this. The show was eventually greenlighted when grandstands for paying spectators were included in the concept since they also made the vast space behind them unattractive for the ticketless crowd.
  • Digital Destruction: The 1997 remaster of Chronology was botched in a number of ways from reversed panning to leaving audible time-code clicks.
  • Digital Piracy Is Okay: Jarre wants his fans to bootleg his concerts. After all, it's the only way to conserve them for the future without disfiguring edits and cuts.
  • Disappeared Dad: Maurice Jarre left his family and went to Hollywood to become a film score composer when his son was just three years old.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Granted, almost every one of Jarre's albums is a New Sound Album, but what he made before his breakthrough hit album Oxygène is so strange in comparison that he flat-out refused to re-release anything of it for some 40 years.
  • Echoing Acoustics: The bass drum of "Calypso 3" has some massive reverb.
  • Electronic Music: Some call him the Godfather of Electronic Music. In a more balanced way, he's among the small group of great pioneers of the 70's such as Kraftwerk, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Tangerine Dream or Giorgio Moroder.
  • Epic Rocking: Jarre recorded many oversized pieces of music in his career, some of them being longer than 10 minutes (and epic, all right).
    • "Waiting for Cousteau" takes the cake, though: 46:53 (albeit with no apparent rhythm or composed melody). Originally, it was even longer than one hour, but it had to be shortened. It's usually put on loop over the PA before Jarre's concerts.
    • "Equinoxe 4" isn't exactly short in its regular album version at almost seven minutes. But there's also a maxi version, only ever released on a translucent blue 12" single, with an additional percussion part that extends it to beyond nine minutes. The percussion part can also be heard in the official music video.
    • Since November 2019, there is "EōN", a constantly evolving piece of music that shall never repeat itself and can be accessed via an app. Each instance of the app even plays something different. So we're talking about a track length of "infinite", "for the foreseeable future" or "however long you run the app". Limited box sets contain CDs or LPs with early snapshots.
  • Everything Is an Instrument: Magnetic Fields and Zoolook, the albums made in the early days of sampling. And Jarre used to be a member of Pierre Schaeffer's Groupe de Recherches Musicales which influenced his earliest works. And let's not forget the shutter and motor winder of Charlotte Rampling's Nikon camera in "Souvenir of China".
  • Everything Is Big in Texas: Rendez-vous Houston was just about the biggest concert in the history of music back then and broke a whole number of records.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: Jarre had Synth Sparkles long before the Yamaha DX7 (which he didn't like anyway) thanks to the EMS models VCS3 and Synthi AKS.
  • Evolving Music: Lots of examples, only a few of which are listed here.
    • "Bridge Of Promises" from Jarre's 1972 debut album Deserted Palace became "Black Bird" the same year, allegedly performed by the Pop Corn Orchestra and penned by one Jamie Jefferson, the Pop Corn Orchestra's sole credited member.
    • "Oxygène 4" had parts of it replaced with a kind of bridge following the same chords from the 1990 Paris La Défense concert on.
    • On the same occasion, "Equinoxe 4" got a new intro.
    • "Equinoxe 7" has been cut off before the long ambient ending ever since 1986 (Rendez-vous Houston). From 1995 (Concert pour la tolérance) to the mid-2000s, another chunk was cut out (it came back with reinforcement a few years ago), and a filter modulation was added to the bass.
    • The first half of "Equinoxe 8", also known as "Band In The Rain", has been played on a barrel organ on stage ever since 1993 (Europe In Concert).
    • "Magnetic Fields 2", for example, got a long solo section a few weeks after its initial release in 1981 (The Concerts In China), a modified melody in 1988 (Destination Docklands), and an additional bridge in 1990 (Paris La Défense); the latter two changes were reverted in 2009 for the In>Doors tour.
    • "Souvenir of China" got several solos at the end over the time.
    • Both "Souvenir of China" and "Second Rendez-vous" were accompanied by an orchestra for several years, starting at the millennium night.
    • "Revolutions" had its Turkish flute intro replaced by an Arabian string orchestra playing an entirely different melody and its title changed to "Revolution, Revolutions" in 1990.
    • As for evolution in the studio, "Orient Express" was entirely re-recorded for the Greatest Hits Album Images in 1991, and hardly anything was left as-is for Aero in 2004.
    • The most common live change in the 1980s and 1990s were drums played live, and they were played differently at each concert or tour since the drummer didn't always follow the original drum machine beats. The most extreme changes were probably applied at the Twelve Dreams Of The Sun, not only because the music had to fit a mostly Egyptian audience, but also because this was the only time that Gary Wallis played the drums for Jarre, and he gave them a not-quite-slight The Police touch. Most concerts of those times also had a bass guitar player.
    • Some songs from Metamorphoses were not only reworked, but also renamed. "Light My Sky" used to be "Tout Est Bleu", "Give Me A Sign" was slowed down a lot and became "Hymn To Acropolis" (which in turn had several other titles over the times), and "Aero" can barely still be identified as what used to be "Je Me Souviens".
    • "March 23", one of the electro-jazz Improv tracks on Sessions 2000, was reworked into "Space Of Freedom", the theme tune for the eponymous Gdansk concert.
    • Ever since the releases of the Electronica albums, "Equinoxe 4" gets mashed up with "Glory" at concerts.
  • Fading into the Next Song: Jarre is famous for this. "Oxygène 1" and "2" are barely separated, the arpeggio of "Equinoxe 3" leads into "Equinoxe 4" - a trick repeated throughout Equinoxe, with the bassline of "Equinoxe 5" continuing throughout parts six and seven - and a similar connection exists between "Magnetic Fields 3" and "4". Several of his longer songs, such as "Ethnicolor" and "Blah Blah Cafe", from Zoolook, are constructed from shorter pieces of music sequed into each other. Also, many of his albums since Waiting for Cousteau have all of their songs linked together with no pause in the middle.
    • Averted with the third section of "Magnetic Fields 1", which begins abruptly in the middle of a sample of a passing jet plane.
    • For years after the release of Oxygène - Live In Your Living Room, "Oxygène 5" had blended into a new piece of music, "Variation III".
    • The Electronica albums provided for new, live-only fades: "Oxygène 8" directly segues into "Zero Gravity", and "Equinoxe 7" slowly turns into "Conquistador".
  • Famous Ancestor: These may be rather close ancestors, but Jean-Michel Jarre is
    • the son of the movie score composer Maurice Jarre (Doctor Zhivago)
    • also the son of France Pejot, important member of La Résistance
    • and the grandson of André Jarre, Gadgeteer Genius and co-inventor of the mixing desk; he probably wouldn't be where he is now without his grandpa's creativity.
  • Fan Remake: Some Jarre fans who play synths themselves sometimes record cover versions of Jarre's music, challenging themselves to remake the original studio (or live album) sound as closely as they can down to tiniest details. These versions are referred to as "replica covers".
  • Frank's 2000 Inch TV: Does this man ever exaggerate this trope.
    • In the 1980s and 1990s, Jarre played huge outdoor concerts in front of huge buildings such as the skyscraper skylines of Houston, TX, and La Défense (Paris), the Moscow State University (the biggest building in Moscow), or the Pyramids of Gizeh. Most of the buildings served as gigantic projection screens of sometimes way more than 2000 inches.
    • Even when playing indoors, Jarre uses video projections on certain pieces of music.
    • Inverted during the 2009 In>Doors tour: Jarre had RGB LED spotlights programmed so that they acted as small circular screens displaying the "Le trac" binoculars guy from the Equinoxe cover. These things are smaller than a 1950s black & white TV.
    • His latest show gimmick as of the 2016 Electronica tour, replacing projections altogether, are movable curtains of RGB LEDs both behind and in front of the stage.
  • FIFA World Cup Special: Rendez-Vous 98, a remix of Fourth Rendez-Vous intended to capture all the thrill of a World Cup finale.
    • Jarre actually made two songs for the '98 World Cup: "Rendez-vous '98" together with Apollo 440 for the United Kingdom and "Together Now" together with Tetsuya "TK" Komuro for Japan, both also for France, World Cup host and his homeland.
  • Genre Roulette: This is a given, considering that Jarre's albums are New Sound Albums more often than not, and that Jarre doesn't consider Electronic Music a genre but a way of making music. But he sometimes plays Genre Roulette within one and the same album. Waiting For Cousteau is a prime example: The opener, "Calypso", is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, Caribbean-inspired music with steel drums. "Calypso Part 2" is hard to tell because it shifts styles halfway through, and the second half is quite danceable. "Calypso Part 3" could pass as an instrumental electronic ballad. And the 45+-minute title track is Brian Eno-level Ambient.
  • Gratuitous Panning: An old Jarre trick is to divide a delayed sequence by panning the original fully to one side and the delay hard to the other. Examples include "Magnetic Fields 1" and "Arpegiator", both of which came out as late as 1981.
  • Greatest Hits Album: The Essential (1983), Musik aus Zeit und Raum (1983), The Essential (1985), Images (1991), The Essential (again) (2003), Aero (2004), the "Essentials" half of Essentials & Rarities (2011), Planet Jarre (2018).
  • Green Aesop: Especially the "Statistics Adagio".
  • Grief Song/In Memoriam:
    • "Ron's Piece" turned into one for Ron McNair after the Challenger disaster. Ron should have played the saxophone part both for the album Rendez-vous and at the concert Rendez-vous Houston while in space.
    • At Oxygen In Moscow 1997, "Souvenir of China" was dedicated to Diana, Princess of Wales, who had died earlier the same year.
    • "September" is another case of In Memoriam, it is dedicated to the Apartheid victim Dulcie September.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: "Ron's Piece" has a sampled human heartbeat instead of drums. The piece basically begins when the heartbeat sets in, and a heartbeat sample is the very last note. Also, the album Chronology starts and ends with synthesized heartbeats.
  • Heavy Metal: The young French metal guitarist Patrick Rondat joined Jarre in 1993 and again in 2005. Rondat went as far as playing a metal rendition of a part of Antonio Vivaldi's Four Seasons at some of Jarre's concerts in addition to accompanying some of Jarre's own music.
  • I Am the Band: In 1972, Jarre became two "bands". One was the Pop Corn Orchestra which only ever released a cover of Hot Butter's Covered Up version of Gershon Kingsley's "Pop Corn". The other one was the Foggy Joe Band. For one, this was the one-man backing section for the singer Samuel Hobo (a.k.a. Foggy Joe in this context); Foggy Joe and the Foggy Joe Band only ever released one song in 1972, "Zig-Zag Dance". Besides, the B-side was the same song as an instrumental by the Foggy Joe Band (i.e. only Jarre).
    To add to the confusion, both "Pop Corn" and the 1973 re-release of the "Zig-Zag Dance" instrumental had a B-side named "Black Bird". It's exactly the same recording, once released under the name "Pop Corn Orchestra", then under the name "Foggy Joe Band", and penned by a certain J. Jefferson who, of course, was Jarre again. Jarre's 1974 "project" named 1906 may also be mistaken for a band.
  • Iconic Song Request: "Oxygène! Oxygène! Oxygène! Oxygène!" or "Rendez-vous! Rendez-vous! Rendez-vous! Rendez-vous!"
  • I Have Many Names: Jarre's many pseudonyms before Oxygène. While writing for and producing several French singers and making music for commercials and such under his real name, he released a number of singles under these names:
    • Pop Corn Orchestra ("Pop Corn"/"Black Bird", 1972)
    • Foggy Joe Band ("Zig-Zag Dance" with vocals by Samuel Hobo a.k.a. Foggy Joe/as an instrumental by only Jarre, 1972; "Zig-Zag Dance" instrumental/"Black Bird", 1973)
    • Jamie/Jammie/J. Jefferson (composer of "Black Bird" and sole member of the Pop Corn Orchestra; the bootleg from 1995 declared him the artist behind "Black Bird")
    • 1906 ("Cartolina"/"Heiza", 1974)
  • Improv: Sessions 2000, period. Also happens a lot at certain points of certain pieces when played live including the entirety of "Oxygène 5" ever since 1997. Recent examples include Theremin or breath controller intros.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: The literal French translation of Magnetic Fields would be Champs Magnétiques. The French album title (actually printed on album covers, by the way) was Les Chants Magnétiques (The Magnetic Chants) which is pronounced exactly the same. Face it, it's impossible for a Jarre-related pun to be lamer than this.
  • In Name Only: As far as the actual music is concerned, the Hong Kong live album contains exactly nothing from the eponymous concert. "Fishing Junks At Sunset" (or what remained of it after the remastering and reduction to one CD) is from the dress rehearsal, "Souvenir Of China" is edited from the Paris La Défense version, and the whole rest has been pieced together from the Europe In Concert tour including Barcelona which got its own VHS release. This led to certain pieces supposedly sounding exactly the same when played in Barcelona 1993 and then in Hongkong 1994.
  • Instrumentals: By far most of Jarre's music. Also, the reason why Jarre's music was allowed to be sold and then played live in China 1981: It had no potentially dangerous lyrics.
  • In the Style of: Taken to the extreme with the Electronica collabs. Even if you think you can tell who has played what, you're likely to be wrong because both sides of the collab have often mimicked each other's styles. So if something sounds like Jarre, it most likely wasn't him.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Electronic Music with no guitars and no "real" instruments. Purely instrumental tunes without anyone singing. Pieces of music that are eight minutes long and more without any clear rock or pop song structure. Every single major label turned Oxygène down because they thought nobody would want to listen to that (or, in fact, anything that was neither Disco nor Punk Rock). It was the same mistake they had made with The Beatles all over again.
  • Live Album:
    • The Concerts In China (1982), covering the 1981 China concerts. The most "live" of them all (except for "Souvenir Of China" which Jarre recorded in his studio in 1982).
    • In Concert Houston-Lyon (1987), covering the 1986 mega-shows Rendez-vous Houston and Rendez-vous Lyon on a single album. Needless to say it's far from complete, and only two pieces aren't shortened.
      • Cities In Concert was originally the version from the Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition album box The Laser Years; it has the same tracklist, but the tracks themselves are full length. It has taken the place of In Concert as the regular release in 1997 when Jarre had his albums remastered.
    • Jarre Live, later renamed Destination Docklands, covering the rainy, windy Destination Docklands concerts in London 1988. It's still heavily cut today.
    • Hong Kong used to be a double album containing "Souvenir Of China" and "Fishing Junks At Sunset" from the dress rehearsal of the 1994 Hong Kong concert and otherwise Europe In Concert tour footage. When it was remastered, it was shortened to only one CD, and "Fishing Junks At Sunset" lost its first half.
    • The DVD set Jarre In China also contains a CD with a selection of the music from the show.
    • Otherwise, look out for bootlegs.
  • List Song:
    • "Millions of Stars", both versions (musical chords and celestial bodies, respectively), and "Revolutions"/"Revolution, Revolutions".
    • "Sale of the Century" isn't really a song of itself but an interlude from the 1993 Europe In Concert tour based on the end of "Chronology 5", but otherwise it counts.
  • A Little Something We Call "Rock and Roll": The China concerts 1981. The people in the post-Mao People's Republic of China didn't know any contemporary Western music, let alone electronic music, until the British Embassy imported Oxygène and Equinoxe, and they had never attended concerts with electronically amplified and thus considerably loud music. Nevertheless, they went absolutely wild.
  • Longest Song Goes First:
    • Magnetic Fields opens with the nearly 18-minute "Magnetic Fields Part 1", which takes up the entirety of side one.
    • Zoolook kicks off with the nearly 12-minute "Ethnicolor".
    • On the original 1988 release of Revolutions, the opening track is the nearly 17-minute "Industrial Revolution". Later releases avert this trope by breaking the suite up into four interconnected tracks, the first of which is outpaced by the 5:21 "Tokyo Kid".
    • Chronology opens with the nearly 11-minute "Chronology Part 1".
    • Oxygène 7-13 opens with the nearly 12-minute "Oxygène 7".
  • Longest Song Goes Last: Waiting For Cousteau closes with the title track which is longer than everything else on the album combined, being 22 minutes on LP copies (consequently occupying the entire second side) and 47 minutes on CD copies.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Electronica is two albums so far with mostly collaborations with other musicians, all of whom Jarre has visited personally instead of exchanging audio files via the Internet. In track order:
  • The Metaverse: Jarre pioneered virtual reality concerts in 2018 in cooperation with TheWaveVR when he performed his new album Equinoxe Infinity in a virtual 3-D world. And when the COVID-19 crisis forced most other musicians and bands to stop gigging altogether, Jarre used this experience to play two concerts on the VRChat platform. The second one of these, Welcome to the Other Side which took place on New Year's Eve 2020, saw him in an illuminated (and intact) 3-D model of Notre-Dame.
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: Jarre Live before it was renamed Destination Docklands, Waiting For Cousteau with a yellow ear on a blue background, and Aero with the title and Jarre's eyes on a white background.
  • Modulation: "Second Rendez-vous", for example, changes among F minor (parts 1, 2, 4), D minor (parts 1, 2), and C minor (part 3, which is entirely different from the rest of the work).
  • Monkey Morality Pose: In the music video for "Zoolook", a robot circus show in Shanghai features three robots that cover their eyes, ears, and mouth, respectively.
  • My Nayme Is: Jarre dropped the dash that would usually belong between his forenames. It used to be "Jean Michel" instead of "Jean-Michel". As of Electronica, it's back.
  • Myspeld Rökband: Vizitors (Jarre and Tetsuya "TK" Komuro).
  • New Sound Album: Anything released after Equinoxe, to the degree that no post-Equinoxe album sounds like its respective predecessor. Waiting For Cousteau and Metamorphoses probably took the cake, the latter by being the first and only Jarre album with vocals and lyrics on almost all songs. Goes together with They Changed It, Now It Sucks!.
    • Oxygène 3 is a very good example. Whereas Jarre had tried to give Oxygène 7-13 a sound close to Oxygène's, he tried something completely different with Oxygène 3 which shares with Oxygène only the way how it was made in only six weeks with limited possibilities.
  • No Title: Double Subverted. First subversion: Usually, musicians and bands don't give names to single concerts and sometimes not even to tours. However, all of Jarre's tours and most of his concerts do have a name from short gigs such as Destination Trocadéro and exclusive mini-events such as Le Printemps de Bourges to monster shows like Paris La Défense or Oxygen In Moscow. Second subversion: Some concerts remained unnamed, including his debut gig in 1979 and the 2004 Beijing double show that ended up on DVD (neither Live In Beijing nor Jarre In China was the name of the concert).
  • The Not-Remix:
    • Aero mostly contains a mixture of original studio footage and newly recorded elements mixed in 5.1 surround sound. But they're not declared "remixes"—in contrast to late 1990s' habits when fans found themselves speaking of electronic cover versions of Jarre's music as remixes due to a flood of actual remixes.
    • In fact, this already applies to "Equinoxe 5", which was remixed and apparently partly re-recorded prior to Equinoxe's CD release. The latter is more well-known today, and people are often puzzled when they stumble upon the original version.
    • In The '90s, there were dozens upon dozens of remixes of Jarre's material, mostly of tracks from Chronology and Oxygène 7-13 when they were new. So when Helios completely remade "Équinoxe 4", they insisted in their version not being a remix, but a Cover Version.
  • Numbered Sequels: Oxygène 7-13 and Oxygène 3, the sequels to Oxygène.
    • Better yet: Oxygène 7-13 was officially renamed Oxygène 2 for the Oxygène three-album box when Oxygène 3 came out.
    • The Electronica albums are a special case because they're both numbered.
  • Ominous Music Box Tune: The few seconds of "Equinoxe 5" allowed on the album Aero sound like coming from a constantly bent music box.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ:
    • The end of "Digisequencer".
    • Subverted by the beginning of "Chronology 8" which is almost wedding compatible.
  • One-Word Title: A common occurrence throughout Jarre's career.
    • Non-album singles and albums with one-word titles and parts rather than song titles:
      • Hypnose (only "Hypnose (Partie 2)" is credited to Jarre as the artist)
      • Oxygène ("Oxygène Part I" through "VI")
      • Équinoxe ("Equinoxe Part I" through "VIII")
      • Chronology ("Chronology Part 1" through "8")
    • Albums with one-word titles and one-word song titles:
      • Zoolook ("Ethnicolor", "Diva", "Zoolook", "Wooloomooloo", "Zoolookologie")
      • Revolutions ("Revolutions"note , "September")
      • Metamorphoses ("Bells", "Silhouette")
      • Aero ("Aero", "Aerology", "Aerozone")
    • Other one-word song titles:
      • "Erosmachine" (La Cage/Erosmachine)
      • "Rose", "Hésitation", "Reconstruction", "Générique" (OST Les granges brûlées)
      • "Cartolina", "Heiza" (Cartolina/Heiza)
      • "Arpegiator" (The Concerts In China)
      • "Calypso" (Waiting For Cousteau)
      • "Palawan" (soundtrack to Palawan - The Last Refuge)
      • "Eldorado" (first released on Images - The Best Of Jean Michel Jarre)
      • "Digisequencer" (from the Europe In Concert tour and the nameless Hongkong concert, first released on Hong Kong)
      • "RaveOlution" (extension of "Revolution, Revolutions" at the concerts of 1997 and 1998, never officially released, only available as a bootleg)
      • "Akropolis" (a.k.a. "Hymn To Acropolis", never officially released, only available as a bootleg)
      • "Chatterbox", "Gossip", "Vintage" (Téo & Téa)
      • "Glory", "Automatic" (two-parter), "If..!", "Immortals", "Conquistador", "Stardust" (Electronica Part 1)
      • "Electrees", "Exit", "Gisèle", "Circus" (Electronica Part 2)
      • "Herbalizer" (from Jarre's performance at the 2018 Coachella festival, first released on Planet Jarre - 50 Years Of Music)
      • "Infinity" (Equinoxe Infinity)
    • Concerts and performances with one-word titles:
      • Aor (1971 ballet)
      • Aero (2002 concert in Denmark)
  • Organ Grinder: At concerts, "Band in the Rain" (actually the first half of "Equinoxe 8") is usually played by Jarre on a barrel organ.
  • Orient Express: An actual track on The Concerts In China, later re-recorded for Images.
  • Pen Name: While Jarre wrote and composed almost everything under his own name, he credited his early work "Black Bird" from 1972 with Jamie Jefferson.
  • Playing the Heart Stringmachines: "Souvenir Of China", "Oxygène 13", "Statistics Adagio" (which is played on a sample-based arranger keyboard), just to mention a few. Many more Jarre songs feature moving string lines less dominantly.
  • Pun-Based Title: Les Chants Magnétiques is the French title of Magnetic Fields but translates to "the magnetic chants". The correct translation of (The) Magnetic Fields would be Les Champs Magnétiques which is pronounced exactly the same as Les Chants Magnétiques.
  • Raised by Grandparents: In the absence of his father, this was more convenient for him than staying with only his busy mother. Plus, the surroundings of his grandparents' living-place turned out to be quite inspiring for young Jean-Michel.
  • Rearrange the Song:
    • Several Jarre classics got partly new accompaniments and especially drum parts for the Twelve Dreams of the Sun, some of them to sound more Arabic. Also, the dance-pop/trance version of "Magnetic Fields 2" from the 1997 Oxygène Arena Tour.
    • "The Overture" from The Concerts in China is a re-arranged version of "Magnetic Fields 1" with the main sequence played back at half speed.
    • A special case was Revolutions: the intro to the Title Track sampled an unpublished composition by Kudsi Erguner, which was given to Jarre by ethnologist Xavier Bellinger. After Erguner successfully sued for copyright infringement, Jarre was disallowed from re-releasing "Revolutions" in its original form. Consequently, the song was replaced with a slight remix of the 1990 live version "Revolution, Revolutions" which means that the original "Revolutions" is only available on second-hand CDs that predate the '97 remaster. (Apparently, nobody minds his continuous use of a snippet of that piece on Destination Docklands.)
  • Re-Cut:
    • The 1997 remasters of The Concerts In China and Hong Kong fit the double albums onto one disc. However, both albums originally contained more than 80 minutes of material each. While The Concerts In China only had some pauses reduced, Hong Kong lost half of "Fishing Junks At Sunset", the only track on the album that was actually recorded in Hong Kong (and even then, it was only recorded during the dress rehearsals).
    • The original 1984 CD release of Zoolook contained the original versions of the title track and "Zoolookologie", so it's pretty much the same as the LP and MC releases. After a short production run, they were replaced by the single remixes in 1985 (they only slightly differed from the originals, but still), making digital copies of the original versions unavailable on new CDs and a sought-after rarity. The 1997 remaster reverted this, but rendered the remixes unavailable.
    • All but two tracks on In Concert Houston/Lyon were shortened from the original live versions. A variant named Cities In Concert included all these songs in their full length plus two more, but it was available only as part of the CD box The Laser Years. The 1997 remaster kicked In Concert Houston/Lyon out of the back catalog and replaced it with Cities In Concert in all its glory.
    • The very long and very Ambient title track of Waiting For Cousteau had to be truncated from 47 minutes to just 22 to fit on an LP.
    • The Apple Music/iTunes release of Equinoxe Infinity interrupts the between-song transitions heard in the physical edition (which are intact in the downloadable version provided by the included certificate), presumably to accommodate randomized play.
  • Regional Riff:
    • Caribbean steel drums ("Calypso")
    • A Turkish Ney ("Revolutions") and an Arab string ensemble ("Revolution, Revolutions") respectively plus matching chants; also sampled synth strings (a real ensemble when played live) and Natacha Atlas' trilingual Arabesque singing ("C'est La Vie")
    • Flamenco guitars (the Europe In Concert version of "Digisequencer" in Barcelona)
    • A Chinese orchestra ("Fishing Junks At Sunset", although this one is in fact a Chinese composition spiced up with French-made electronic sounds)
    • A French accordion ("Chronology 6", the instrument in question is actually an Italian Cavagnolo accordion)
    • England is represented by Hank Marvin's 60s-style Strat ("London Kid")
  • Remix Album: Jarremix (1993, mostly based on Chronology), Odyssey Through O2 (1998, mostly based on Oxygène 7-13).
  • Repurposed Pop Song: Jarre's music has been used as themes of several TV shows, parts of the album Oxygène went into the soundtrack of Gallipoli, and "Arpegiator" (from The Concerts In China) is the Background Music of the hottest sex scene in 9½ Weeks.
  • Re-release the Song: "Oxygène 4", the original studio single recording from 1976, was re-released at about the same time as Jarre Live (a live album) in 1989 with a brand-new video.
  • Retraux: Oxygène 7-13, the 2007 Oxygène remake, and to a certain degree Chronology. Averted with Oxygène 3 which is what Oxygène might be if it had been made exactly 40 years later.
  • Rockumentary: Making the Steamroller Fly.
  • Same Face, Different Name: In the early days before Oxygène, Jarre released a few pieces of music on singles. In order for it not to interfere with his main career (writing and composing chansons, making music for commercials and one movie, his first album Deserted Palace), he used the monikers Pop Corn Orchestra, Foggy Joe Band and 1906. It wasn't immediately clear that all of these and the composer Jamie Jefferson were in fact one and the same person who had also penned, amongst other things, Christophe's smash-hit "Les Mots Bleus" — and released a ground-breaking instrumental electronic album himself two years later.
  • Sampling: Jarre was not only one of the first musicians to use samplers as early as 1981 (he actually toured China with a Fairlight), but as a former member of Pierre Schaeffer's Groupe de recherches musicales, he did sampling before there were even samplers. His 1984 album Zoolook is mostly built around vocal samples from dozens of languages.
  • Scatting: The human voice samples on Zoolook.
  • Scenery Gorn: Destination Docklands was deliberately staged at London's Queen Victoria Docks when half of the buildings on location were ruins (two of them were painted white one last time to be used as projection screens) and half were already demolished piles of rubble. Add to that London's dreadful autumn weather. See also Scenery Porn below.
  • Scenery Porn: Jarre's mega-concerts made a lot of use of the surrounding architecture and were tailor-made for the location, no matter how huge the structures behind the stage were. Beginning with 2007's Oxygène – Live In Your Living-Room and the 2008 Oxygène Tour, the Scenery Porn concentrated on the stage, on the vintage synthesizers, to be more precise, up to and including rectangular, color-changing spotlights to illuminate them separately. The Oxygène Tour even had a tiltable mirror hanging above the synth castles so that the audience could see them from above.
  • Sexy Packaging: Geometry of Love features a yellow-tinted, pixelated photograph of Isabelle Adjani's (Jarre's girlfriend at the time) nude crotch.
  • Shout-Out: 1990's En Attendant Cousteau (Waiting for Cousteau in releases within the Anglosphere) takes its name from famous French play Waiting for Godot.
  • Siamese Twin Songs: "Equinoxe 5" through "7".
    • An interesting variation of this trope came to exist upon the combination of "Equinoxe 4" and "Glory": Given enough time at concerts, this mash-up remix will eventually turn into "Glory" proper.
  • Signature Style: Defined by Oxygène and Equinoxe. Some expect Jarre to always sound like this which often leads to disappointment once they listen to any one of his other albums.
  • Single Stanza Song: "Bells", "Rendez-vous à Paris".
  • The Something Song:
    • "La Chanson des Granges Brûlées", the opener from the soundtrack album Les Granges Brûlées.
    • "Digisequencer" is also known as "Sequencer Song".
  • Song Style Shift: Happens in several of Jarre's works, for example "Night In Shanghai", "Ethnicolor", "Calypso 2", "Digisequencer". Some of them are divided into subparts by fans to tell the sections from one another, especially if only one of them is played live (for example "Oxygène 5", "Equinoxe 8", "Magnetic Fields 1", "Oxygène 7", "Chronology 1").
  • Spell My Name With An S:
  • Spoken Word in Music:
    • The weather forecast verses of "Tout Est Bleu", the original verses of "Millions Of Stars", "Je Me Souviens" and "Love Love Love" as a whole, parts of "C'est La Vie", the "project explanation" bits from "Téo & Téa", and understandable samples of Chinese in "Souvenir Of China" (the voice samples on Zoolook might or might not count). The lyrics of "Revolution, Revolutions" have always been spoken into the vocoder at concerts after 1990. And then there are the spoken interludes from the Europe In Concert tour.
    • A special mention goes to Edward Snowden's speech in "Exit".
  • Steel Drums and Sunshine: "Calypso". Unlike the other two "Calypso" parts on Waiting For Cousteau which are electronic music with more or less steel drums (the studio version of Calypso 3 is actually devoid of them), the first one is steel drum music with synthesizers.
  • Stylistic Suck:
    • "Band In The Rain" (actually the first part of "Équinoxe 7" is simplified to the point of resembling the product of a home organ player.
    • "Magnetic Fields 5" a.k.a. "The Last Rumba" was played on a home organ in one go with no overdubs and no other equipment involved. It was meant as a Take That! to the music industry as a whole.
  • Surreal Music Video:
    • "Zoolookologie" features Jarre and a bunch of female backup singers miming and messing around in a variety of crude, computer-animated backdrops, with clips of toys in a White Void Room appearing at random points. The result is often described by modern viewers as "vaporwave before vaporwave."
    • The music video for Part 4 of Chronology features a troupe of gymnasts and rapid-fire slideshows vaguely themed around science and European history.
  • Take That!: A humorous case happened at the 2016 Electronica tour. In response to people taking photographs or even filming his concerts (which Jarre encourages) with their smartphones, Jarre let the "Le trac" binoculars guys return on the LED curtains right after "Equinoxe 4", now holding smartphones.
  • Technology Porn: The 2008 Oxygène Tour seemed to focus on gear. Loads of vintage gear that would make any synth nerd drool, that you might only ever see live at a Jarre concert. He even used special rectangular spotlights to illuminate synthesizers individually or in groups for a while, sometimes also a movable mirror above the stage so all his gear could be seen. Tour merch included T-shirts with close-up images of EMS synths. The two following tours toned this down only slightly without reducing the quantity of instruments involved.
    • The same goes for the predecessor of the 2008 tour, Oxygène — Live In Your Living Room, just without the lightshow.
    • This.
    • Many of Jarre's albums include lists of the gear used to record them. Rendez-vous goes as far as listing who of the musicians involved used what on which track. To be fair, for synth nerds, this is porn all right, considering what Jarre had in his studio.
    • Jarre showing off some legendary instruments on a concert stage.
  • Theremin: Claimed to have been played on Oxygène 7-13. This instrument did in fact appear at the Oxygène Arena Tour the same year and at every Jarre concert ever since. Jarre has actually learned to play it meanwhile.
  • Tick Tock Tune: Most of Chronology uses the ticking of clocks as either ambient noise or part of the rhythm. Bonus points for the use of an alarm sequence Jarre himself had composed for Swatch the previous year, sampled from an actual wristwatch.
  • Title by Year: Sessions 2000: Released in 2002, it contained material recorded during something similar to electronic jam sessions in 2000.
  • Train Song: "Orient Express".
    • "Magnetic Fields 2", in its original single and album versions as well as the La Défense remix on Images, fades into a recording of a train being shunted.
    • At the end of "Magnetic Fields 4", heavily modified samples of a moving print head (!) are faded in before you hear an express train pass at high speed. The song ends with a pneumatic sliding door closing.
  • Translated Cover Version: As documented on the Live From Gdańsk Live Album, concert performances of "Tout Est Bleu" replaced the original French lyrics with an English equivalent, with this rendition being retitled "Light My Sky".
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: Taken up to eleven in "London Kid" with modulations of "multiple" semitones. Twice.
  • Uncommon Time: "Chronology 1" starts in what sounds like a polyrhythmic combination of 9/8 and something even weirder. The lack of drums or rhythmic accompaniment except for one aleatoric string line makes it even more confusing.
  • Unplugged Version: "Band in the Rain" played on a barrel organ.
  • Unusual User Interface: The Laser Harp. Instead of strings, it has laser beams which, meanwhile, are powerful enough to slice your hand if you put it in them with no protective gloves on. And yes, the laser harpist does insert his hands into the beams. The maximum number of 10 beams used by Jarre isn't much of an obstacle since different notes can be assigned to the beams.
  • Word Salad Lyrics:
    • "Millions of Stars" seems to have these, at least it had them before the verses were rewritten with stars and planets. If you're a musician, though, you will find out that they're chords. The first line in the first verse (see below) is actually even played at that time during the song.
    Gm, Dm, Cm⁹, Gm
    • The Laurie Anderson collab "Love Love Love", also from Metamorphoses, to a lesser extent—until you discover that Laurie Anderson has pieced together some of the words in the lyrics from entirely different words.
  • World Music: Zoolook has heavy elements of this, featuring speech and singing in 25 different languagesnote  and samples of various traditional instruments.
  • Wrongfully Attributed: Jarre is sometimes claimed to have composed Gershon Kingsley's "Popcorn". It doesn't really help that Jarre has actually recorded a cover of this piece of music (the Hot Butter cover, to be more precise) and released it under the guise of Pop Corn Orchestra. Neither does it help that it seems like he has borrowed a piece of "Popcorn"'s hookline for "Oxygène 4".