Jean Michel Jarre “Finger-Syncs” Oxygene IV

Jean Michel Jarre “finger-syncs” his way through the classic Oxygène IV.

We’re not sure if “finger-syncing” is a legitimate term, but we don’t know what else to call this. In the last few years, YouTube has largely killed off this sort of musical pantomime performance.

Jarre does a capable live performance of Oxygène on the DVD Oxygene: Live In Your Living Room. It’s amazing to see how young Jarre looks in this video, though, and what an impression he must have made surrounded by all those synths on a smoke-filled stage.

12 thoughts on “Jean Michel Jarre “Finger-Syncs” Oxygene IV

  1. And the sad part is that there were a lot of people who couldn't see through this. I remember having some heated discussions with some of my friends back then about "electronic artists performing but not playing", which usually would be waved away by "why else would he have so much equipment on stage?". <sigh>

    But indeed; sometimes it was just too obvious. But you'd be amazed at how many people who look at this and still don't wonder about aspects such as "where does the background music come from" or in this particular video "when he uses his left hand to stop playing and tweak some dials, why does everything continue to play?", that stuff.

    To me its always been fascinating to see how people would cope with what I like to call the "caveat in electronic music". Meaning; with a sequencer you can just about do anything. So you'll be the one who needs to decide as to what part is going to be left out and played live. Yet you'd also be pretty sure about the way you're going to do it because the rest (normally) will continue playing. And this idea was also one of the basis ideas why I picked up Live; the idea that you could play and perform at the same time by "controlling" the background with a controlling surface (so; using clips all the time).

    Alas, its nice to hear Oxygene IV again. I don't play it often myself, but it sure brings back memories. Its one of the songs which fueled my curiosity and fascination for synths. And no; I'm not talking gear lusting, I'm talking about curiosity and wondering how it all worked and was setup.

  2. This is so obviously faked that it makes me wonder if people realized that at the time or not.

    I saw Tangerine Dream perform years ago, and it wasn't clear for much of the show if they were actually performing or if they were just miming.

  3. I wonder if this is what Bill Bailey was talking about.

    I do like the completely unnecessary embellishments he's doing. I also dig the keyboard with half of the keys in reversed colour.

  4. oxygene was amazing for those sounds. For so long, those were the sounds that encompassed the sound of the synthesizer for me. Even now, it still feels a bit futuristic.

    Actually, I would kind of like to redub that video with an interpretation of what he's actually playing ala those 'shreds' videos (eg: )

  5. Jean Michel is a very nice looking boy and his music is fine. That's why we have have a video.

    With the exception of dance bands and folk gatherings, live performance is a circus and is more a provence for clowns than musicians. It's silly looking and disingenuous.

    Make the sounds and music and I'll hear, I don't need to see how many keyboards one can finger when most if not all of the music is sequenced anyway. And, if you are not Rick Wakeman, please stop touching your knobs just to make it look like you're actually doing something. It makes you look like you can't get it right.

    Don't forget to have fun.

  6. Looks like there is delay on the left hand keyboard. He plays a bunch of notes, then lifts his hand to adjust resonance while it is still decaying and then continues playing. Also with so many of his live releases having multi channel sound, is it not possible the person who ripped this for youtube didnt grab one of the tracks?

  7. They still mime on TV. Popular music played using the wrong instruments, with keyboards not plugged in (no electricity, no sound output), no mike for the singer(s), playing not matching the music, you name it. In some shows it's required and even if the artist(s) would love to play live they are not allowed to because it's much easier to just rent a few instruments, play a recording, and turn on that smoke machine. Besides: People who watch those TV shows expect to hear exactly the same thing as on the radio or CD, tape, vinyl.

    As for Tangerine Dream: They used to use prepared tape recordings live, but most of the stuff was usually improvised, only occasionally drifting into a piece from an album. But I guess that changed as time went by, I've not followed TD's output since the 80s.

  8. most tv performances are playback because it’s much cheaper that way. if you’re playing live for real one way or the other you need a proper sound check and that takes time and time is money. for many years musicians were not allowed to play live on top of the pops

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