Jean-Michel Jarre Equinoxe Production Notes

Production Notes

Although Equinoxe was considered to be a state-of-the-art electronic album on its release, it was produced under conditions that any mid '70s anti-establishment indie rocker would have approved of. The studio was simply the converted dining room of Jarre's Paris flat. Much of the equipment was secondhand, which Jarre had re-conditioned or adapted himself, and included a none-too-fancy Scully eight-track recorder, though this gave way to a 16-track MCI for the making of Equinoxe.


This was pressed into service to record Jarre's array of analogue electronic instruments, which ranged from a very basic Korg Minipops drum machine to the world's first commercially available string synthesiser, the Eminent 310, kitted out with an Electro-Harmonix Small Stone phaser on its string pads. The main sound from 'Equinoxe 1' consists of the Eminent's 'SUST strings' setting and an 8ft organ tab with chorus. Jarre employed liberal lashings of echo on the various sound effects generated by his VCS3 synthesiser while also present was Jarre's ARP 2600 synthesiser.

Jarre and engineer Michel Geiss made a formidable team. 'Part of my artistic collaboration was to use my training and knowledge in electronics to build new instruments or modify existing ones to adapt them to his musical concept,' explained Geiss. 'Jean-Michel expressed his wish to do sequences on a matrix. I started thinking and designed the Matrisequencer 250. This would play standard notes with the octave divided in usual semitones, within a range of four octaves.

'Jean-Michel immediately accepted it as soon as I had finished it. And it became one of the main instruments in Equinoxe.'