Record Review: Air


Le Voyage Dans La Lune

Paris, France

▼ Article continues below ▼

“Futuristic space-pop soundtrack to a century-old film masterpiece”

Air, the electronic duo of Jean-Benoit Dunckel and Nicolas Godin, were asked to compose this soundtrack as a modern accompaniment for the digitally restored color version of the 16-minute 1902 Méliès film Le Voyage Dans La Lune, shown at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. Air matched their music perfectly to each scene, all within a tight 20-day schedule. “Everything is played live,” states Godin, the band’s guitarist and secondary singer/keyboardist. “We played facing the screen, to synchronize the music better. In fact, this was our first time composing for a silent film; with no dialogue, the soundtrack becomes one of the main narrative threads.”

Inspired by the film, the soundtrack expanded into a full-blown Air album. Although primarily instrumental, vocals are featured at times by Victoria Legrand of Beach House, Au Revoir Simone, Dunckel and Air’s lustrous choir-like synthesized voices. Legrand and Dunckel create a duet of aural beauty for the dreamy single “Seven Stars.” Acoustic percussion is prominent throughout the album from the start. Timpani and a drum kit begin solitarily on the opening track’s first movement. Other notable percussive tracks are “Decollage” and “Cosmic Trip.” Instrumentally, the music is quite experimental, with influences from Pink Floyd to Radiohead pervading at times. Godin’s solo guitar work sounds particularly Gilmour-like, yet poignantly well placed. “Sonic Armada” demonstrates Dunckel’s knack for synthesizer improvisation, which he pitch bends, glides and slides to create the electronic equivalent of acid jazz, while Godin’s bouncy guitar plucks maintain the bottom line.

“We don’t make rock music but psycho-acoustic music, ambience. That’s why our music works so well for voyages and original soundtracks,” expresses Dunckel. “In our music the acoustic and the electronic have always lived together to try to surprise and move the listener; the acoustic brings sincerity, while the electronic stimulates the imagination.” (Astralwerks)

Engineered by Louis Arlette

Mastered by Chab at Translab Mastering Studio

Like this? Share this!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.