Jarre explains his early works at the Group of Music Research Center back in 1968. He was one of the four students to take courses from Pierre Schaeffer.
Jean-Michel Jarre: I joined the music research center, the first electroacoustic or electronic school, in Paris, in 1968 and after having studying classical music, and having played in some local rock bands, I discovered that year something absolutely unique, thinking music in terms of sounds, and not only based on notes and solfegio.
1968 was also the student revolution in France. So, for me, electronic music and electro-acoustic music was a kind of ideal way to rebel against the establishment of classical music and also the establishment of rock.
1968 is also a revolution in terms of movies, with the release of 2001, a space odyssey and for me it has been a massive source of inspiration, both on a visual point of view and a musical point of view.
So, to join this research music center, headed by Pierre Schaeffer, who actualy became my master, we had to pass an exam. And we wer 200 and they were taking only 4 people every year. And the principle, was that you had to be in a studio for four hours, with just one tape recorder, one microphone, some cellar tape and scissors and you could choose one percussion element. I choosed a woodblock and my idea was actualy I did a piece of one minute with probably I don’t know, hundreds of edits of half an inch, just by processing one percussion sound, I mean, processing it, speeding it up, slowing down, reverse and then the result was quite extreme and they seem to like it, because I was one of the four.
During this period, I wrote some of my early tracks, called Happiness is a sad song, Erosmachine, La Cage and lots of other stuff.