29 January 2010

La Cage - Jean Michel Jarre

La Cage is a 1971 pastiche of scary musique concrete and experimental electronics, the very first single by Jean Michel Jarre, five years before Oxygene entranced listeners with its gentle, melodic ambience. It's a three minute fifteen second track, rather discordant, with clanging percussion and a jumpy, random-sounding bassline with ghostly screeches. It relies heavily on the electro-acoustic manipulation of audio tape, and is very, very different to any Jarre tracks you're likely to have heard.

Despite its 1971 release date, the single was actually recorded in 1969, and it says something that Jarre was unable to find anyone willing to release it until the record company Pathé-Marconi rose to the challenge two years later, releasing La Cage on 7" single with a b-side of Erosmachine.

The company's confidence was ill-founded; only one hundred and seventeen copies of La Cage were sold, and the remainder were destroyed. This, of course, makes the single fantastically rare, although the tracks (La Cage and b-side, Erosmachine) were released on a 1978 compilation, 'Made In France', and have popped up on various bootleg recordings.

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