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Magnetic Fields Pt. 4


Post Posted Sun Nov 29, 2020 7:35 pm
Richard-Eastham


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Does anybody out there also think Magnetic Fields Pt. 4 is one of the most amazing JMJ tracks? Q: Has it ever been played live in any other setting except from the China Concerts?

If somebody asked me what my favourite JMJ track is, I couldn't say. It depends on my mood, whether I am listening on headphones, walking, running, at home and so on. There's so many track to choose from depending on the situation. But if somebody was to ask what the most "perfectly executed" JMJ track is, I would say Magnetic Fields Pt. 4.

It has a wonderful structure, the percussion is delicate (not the derivative thud thud of the Electronica years) and the melody is haunting. It has that melancholia that characterises so much of JMJ's music has but combines it with an optimism too. The structure builds over several verse-chorus-verse-chorus repeats, with little sonic additions each time. The vocoder chorus that starts at 2' 07" is distinctive but what makes it special is that bewitching "breaks like a wave" thing at 2' 33" when it reaches a tipping point. Same effect happens in Chronologie Pt. 1, when the music sort of tumbles over the other side of a high point at 1' 58".

The astonishing thing about Magnetic Fields Pt. 4 is that tipping point is reached well before halfway in a track that lasts 6' 12". It seems so brave to bring that point forward so early in a track and allow the second half to sort of drift away in a dream like state, before the rushing train and closing doors conclude things. Suggests JMJ was supremely confident about what he was doing here. So if one track was to capture JMJ's approach to composition and musicality, I would say it is Magnetic Fields Pt. 4: Long form, instrumental, delicate, melodic, the use of "found sound" with the train (ref to his GRM days) and a sadness yet an unbridled optimism too. It's faultless.

There is also something about that time, the early 1980s. Close enough to the Oxygene/Equinoxe years but not yet arrived at the bombast of Rendezvous Pt. 4 and Houston or Industrial Revolution and the Docklands. Bit of a sweet spot in his career.

Anyway, those are my thoughts!
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Post Posted Sun Nov 29, 2020 9:57 pm
Dr_Jones


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Oh yeah, a new live version of Magnetic Fields 4 would be great. That and the 3rd part of Magnetic Fields 1. These are my favourite tracks from the album. The China version is magical (with a short reference to Oxygene 3 again, at the end of the track, the first notes of the "cello" solo).
Definitely an overlooked track.
Post Posted Mon Nov 30, 2020 1:39 pm
Adam


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This and the whole of part 1 are my favourites on this album, part 1 movement 3 is definately overlooked, I seem to remember an interview when he was asked about playing the 3rd part of it live and he said he'd consider it.

Such a shame part 4 was never played live again after China.
I wish he'd have reworked it using the China version for Planet Jarre in the same way he remixed part 2.
I don't know if anyone remembers the covers band Frequenz, they did a pretty good cover of the China version.
Post Posted Mon Nov 30, 2020 2:32 pm
Richard-Eastham


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Thanks Adam and Dr Jones - def think Mag Fields 4 has potential to be tweaked and refreshed.

I know Mag Field 2 gets all the attention, but it isn't even in the top three on the album! Pt 4, then Pt. 1 (last movement), Pt 1 (first movement) and Pt 3 are all better in my opinion. No idea what Pt 5 is all about. Wish he hadn't stuck that on the end to be honest. It adds nothing and sort of leaves a bad note in the ears after all the other glorious stuff. If you think of the way Oxygene 6 and Equinoxe 8 both fade to leave the listener with sonic memories of the whole album, the Last Rhumba seems to do exact the opposite.
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Post Posted Mon Nov 30, 2020 2:44 pm
Adam


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Last Rhumba does seem very out of place, I tend to skip that one when listening to the album & end it on part 4, for me it spoils the whole mood of the album.
I find the album version of part 2 to be rather boring compared to the China or Planet Jarre versions, I think Jarre said that himself in so many words which is why he decided to remix it for Planet Jarre.
Post Posted Mon Nov 30, 2020 3:47 pm
Dr_Jones


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The single mix has a nice variation at the end
Post Posted Mon Nov 30, 2020 4:01 pm
Adam


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Ah yes I forgot about the single mix, shame the ending is so short, would be nice if that variation went on for another verse.
Post Posted Mon Nov 30, 2020 7:55 pm
Richard-Eastham


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Adam wrote: Mon Nov 30, 2020 2:44 pm Last Rhumba does seem very out of place, I tend to skip that one when listening to the album & end it on part 4, for me it spoils the whole mood of the album.
Me too!
--
01.09.93 Manchester / 07.06.97 Manchester / 30.03.08 London / 22.05.09 London / 10.10.10 London / 01.07.11 Monaco / 04.05.16 London / 23.07.16 Macclesfield / 06.10.16 Brighton / 07.10.16 London.
Post Posted Mon Nov 30, 2020 7:59 pm
Richard-Eastham


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Dr_Jones wrote: Mon Nov 30, 2020 3:47 pm The single mix has a nice variation at the end
This is cool! I wasn't familiar with that version. Thanks for sharing.
--
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Post Posted Tue Dec 01, 2020 7:51 pm
Jote


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I like MF5, it's the ultimate realization of the "surrealism" theme of this album. I like this abrupt change in tone, where the second part of MF4 is dreamy, and the MF5 is like waking up from this dream. Suddenly you're in a bright living room listening to a radio or something. At least that's what my brain always pictured.

And on the subject of MF4 - while there are lyrics for the vocoder part floating around the internet, I had this verified with a source close to JMJ and I was told this is most certainly a case of "misheard lyrics". It's apparently just gibberish.
Post Posted Tue Dec 01, 2020 9:36 pm
Synner


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My favourite track from my least favourite Jean-Michel Jarre album.

I've always thought the MF (or LCM) album was trying so desperately hard not to be 'Oxynoxe' that it doesn't really have it's own character, and seems to be flailing for ideas and direction.

MF4 though, stands out somewhat from the rest - the only track on the album with its own identity - and it is catchy as hell.

There are some great live variations from the MF album though - MF1 as played in China is superb (MUCH faster and more aggressive than the original), and there have been some wonderful live versions of MF2 (the fun Defense mix and the wildly frenetic Oxygene Tour '97 version in particular). Such a shame MF4 has never been revisited (hint, Mr J, if you're reading!)

Still, at least Jarre found his mojo with the next studio album, his magnificent octopus to quote Baldrick - Zoolook.
Post Posted Wed Dec 02, 2020 12:44 am
shadow


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I absolutely adore party 4 and it's the highlight one the album for me, also it's the track I also close the album on. Part 5 always felt like a punchline, but there's not really a joke in the album.
I can see it fit in with Music for Supermarkets, Zoolook or even Waiting for Cousteau at the very end after the titular track. But it's so out of place on Magnetic Fields.

Shame it got shafted for part 2, but I can see why. Part 2 simply has the much more catchy melody you can extremely easily hum along too.
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Post Posted Wed Dec 02, 2020 11:43 am
Jote


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Synner wrote: Tue Dec 01, 2020 9:36 pm There are some great live variations from the MF album though - MF1 as played in China is superb (MUCH faster and more aggressive than the original),
It's not faster at all, let alone much faster. The tempo of both album version and this live version is the same, around 132 bpm.
Post Posted Thu Dec 03, 2020 8:48 pm
Richard-Eastham


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Jote wrote: Tue Dec 01, 2020 7:51 pm I like MF5, it's the ultimate realization of the "surrealism" theme of this album. I like this abrupt change in tone, where the second part of MF4 is dreamy, and the MF5 is like waking up from this dream. Suddenly you're in a bright living room listening to a radio or something. At least that's what my brain always pictured.
I like this thinking! I'll give it another try with this in mind :D
--
01.09.93 Manchester / 07.06.97 Manchester / 30.03.08 London / 22.05.09 London / 10.10.10 London / 01.07.11 Monaco / 04.05.16 London / 23.07.16 Macclesfield / 06.10.16 Brighton / 07.10.16 London.
Post Posted Thu Dec 03, 2020 8:56 pm
Richard-Eastham


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Synner wrote: Tue Dec 01, 2020 9:36 pm I've always thought the MF (or LCM) album was trying so desperately hard not to be 'Oxynoxe' that it doesn't really have it's own character, and seems to be flailing for ideas and direction.

MF4 though, stands out somewhat from the rest - the only track on the album with its own identity - and it is catchy as hell.
I don't think the whole Magnetic Fields album is too far removed from the "Equigene" :D albums. For example, MF1 could easily be split into three distinct tracks. That would mean MF2 becomes MF4, so we have a Pt. 4 opening up a second side of an album and a Pt 4 being the "hit" single. Very Oxygene and Equinoxe and Rendezvous and Chronologie. Then you've the Last Rhumba playing the role of the odd one out, like Band In The Rain, Final Rendezvous, Chrono Pt. 8 etc.

MF lacks the swooshing white noise of Equinoxe and Oxygene. Instead, it has a sparse, digital spikiness. But in terms of structure and identity, I think it's up there with the others.

MF4 = Catchy as hell - agree!
--
01.09.93 Manchester / 07.06.97 Manchester / 30.03.08 London / 22.05.09 London / 10.10.10 London / 01.07.11 Monaco / 04.05.16 London / 23.07.16 Macclesfield / 06.10.16 Brighton / 07.10.16 London.







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