Music is an integral part of my design process. I’m constantly listening to film scores and ambient music while I work. I intentionally seek out music without lyrics to reduce the possibility of being distracted; I want the music to be a soundtrack to what I’m doing, in essence, subtly fading into the background like a well-done score does in a film.
Jean Michel Jarre’s Oxygéne is a regular in my music rotation. I’ve been listening to this album in one format or another my entire life. My mother owned the vinyl record and would play it for me and my brother when we were kids. I keenly remember how the combination of the spacey synth music and the spooky album artwork capitvated my imagination.
The album cover was painted by Michel Granger, and was actually the original inspiration for recording Oxygéne. Jarre approached Granger about using the painting for the album cover after the record was completed, and thankfully, he agreed.
Oxygéne has been credited with “[leading] the synthesizer revolution of the Seventies”, and originally Jarre had difficulty getting the record released because of it’s unconventional nature and content, however he did eventually find a publisher who gambled on an initial 50,000 copy run. The album went on to sell over 15 million copies.
If you’re into ambient and electronic music I definitely recommend Oxygéne, as it pioneered those modern genres. The album consists of one continuous track broken into 6 acts, totaling about 40 minutes. I’ve often listened to it on repeat for hours while working. It’s available from iTunes here, although I must say that there’s something missing from the digital version because it lacks the organic hissing and popping of the original vinyl record.