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Jean-Michel Jarre announces immersive new album Oxymore

Jean-Michel Jarre portrait 2021
(Image credit: Yunling Fang)

Jean-Michel Jarre has confirmed that his 22nd studio album will be his most ambitious project so far. The release of Oxymore on October 21 via Sony Music will accompanied by a VR world, Oxyville, which is designed to further enhance the listening experience.

The keyboard wizard explains: “Oxyville will be a virtual music city, and in the future I will invite other artists to be a part of it, as well as hold masterclasses and other events. I want it to become a sandbox for new music experiences."

Oxymore's conceptual creation builds on the immersive qualities of its 2021 predecessor, Amazônia, which provided the soundtrack to Sebastião Salgado's exhibition of the same name. This time, the creative process was road-tested in an exclusive 360 concert for a small number of fans. The finished album is also a binaural recording – ie. it was tracked using two microphones to give the music a 3D feel when listened with headphones. 

The new album and its VR world are just the latest ways in which the musician has embraced modern technology to enhance the enjoyment of his music. Back in 2020, his avatar gave a virtual reality performance under the banner of Alone Together and he welcomed in 2021 with a virtual concert in Notre Dame. Back in the 1970s, his groundbreaking Oxygène album helped shape the sound of modern synthesiser music and continues to inspire to this day. 

Watch a clip of Jarre's Notre Dame VR concert below.

Natasha Scharf
Natasha Scharf

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.