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Jean-Michel Jarre Debuts Immersive Live Project, ‘Oxymore’

Electronic music pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre recently performed his new immersive live project, Oxymore, at Radio France’s Hyper Weekend Festival.

Sound design engineer, Hervé Déjardin (left) with Jean-Michel Jarre, finalizing the L-ISA spatial design.
Sound design engineer, Hervé Déjardin (left) with Jean-Michel Jarre, finalizing the L-ISA spatial design.

Paris, France (March 3, 2022)—Electronic music pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre has pushed boundaries in recording and live performance for decades and his new immersive live project, Oxymore, proved to be no exception when it was recently premiered across multiple performances at the inaugural edition of Radio France’s Hyper Weekend Festival in Paris.

The concerts were staged in the round at Radio France headquarters, la Maison de la Radio, surrounded by a seated live audience while also being broadcast and live VR-streamed to tens of thousands of viewers. Key to both the in-person and streamed versions of the work was L-Acoustics’ L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound technology, specified by sound design engineer, Hervé Déjardin.

Production rehearsals took place at Innovation Radio France studio, where Déjardin began his immersive mix using L-ISA Studio software with a 12-loudspeaker setup and a Nuendo DAW. “Jean-Michel’s music is naturally spatial, and although he works in stereo, he thinks in terms of space,” said Déjardin. “He organized different stems for me during the mastering process and sent me the multitracks so I could start the spatialization design, which we spent two solid weeks finalizing together,” explains Déjardin. “It’s so easy to work with him because the material is so logical. My job was just to reinforce the emotion and story in space.”

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The performance was set for Maison de la Radio’s Agorastage, a round outdoor/indoor hybrid space enclosed with a glass ceiling. Christophe Dupin (system engineer) specified an oval of 17 Syva cabinets, plus Syva Low and some extra SB21s, provided by Magnum. Jarre was positioned at the ‘top’ of the oval on an elevated stage, to artistically achieve a zero-degree reference point for the audience, which was seated around him facing the stage. Due to social distancing, audiences were limited to 200 people attending each of seven concerts over the three-day festival. Simultaneously, the live festival performances were broadcast via radio and streamed in 6DoF binaural format to the virtual platform VRChat by VRrOOm.

Déjardin employed a small mixer with 48 inputs, loaded with tracks from Jarre. He set up several stereo groups in L-ISA, and applied L-ISA’s four positioning parameters (pan, width, distance) to create the spatial mix. This also allowed Déjardin to ensure recordings would be compatible with 5.1 to enable DVD production at a later date. Part of the spatialization was written on Nuendo, which contained about 400 lines of automation for the movements in space.

“I could not have achieved this project without L-Acoustics,” averred Jarre. “Its vision and pioneering approach always impress me and, once more, we are opening doors on virgin acoustic territories together.”