air-band

Air :: My Favorite Artists

I have been wracking my brain all morning to recall when I first heard Air’s music, but it all seems a blur. I think it was when around early 2000, right after I got married the second time, right around the time we were packing up to move out of state (my first time to leave California). Moon Safari was in our collection, though I can’t for the life of me remember if it was his, or mine, originally. I know the music quickly became ours though. There was something to it, the soothing feeling the music evoked, the eroticism, the trip hop deliciousness of it. The music sounded to me like a bridge between the 90’s and the 00’s, like it carried the flavor of a new millennium in the sound waves.

The Virgin Suicides had come out the year before, and I’d seen it a few times in the theaters. It was my first experience with Sofia Coppola’s films (she is one of my all-time favorite filmmakers) and I had loved the book, as well. The music was incredible, and I do remember going out and buying the soundtrack at a small record store in Salt Lake City (where we were living in 2000). I fell hard and fast for Playground Love, and it became one of those songs that I slipped into mix tapes, and wrote stories to.

A good friend and myself would go on to create a short-lived music blog called “I Heart Moon”, which was borne from a conversation we both had about Air, and the song and video to Sexy Boy. We had aspirations to have tee shirts made that said Sexy Boy and “I Heart Moon” on them, and wear them in our individual cities whenever we went to music venues or events, so that we could snap a picture to include in our reviews.

Later albums, 10 000 Hz Legend and Talkie Walkie also found their way into my ears and heart, though it was those two earlier albums that remain my favorites. They are a go-to band when I want to ease my anxieties, when I want to feel relaxed or romantic, and often it is what I turn on to write to. Their songs still make it on to quite a many mix and playlist I make, too.

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Air are from Versailles, France. They are the musical duo of Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel.

Air’s debut EP, Premiers Symptômes, was followed by the critically acclaimed album Moon Safari, the re-release of Premiers Symptômes, The Virgin Suicides score, and subsequently albums 10000 Hz Legend, Everybody Hertz, Talkie Walkie, Pocket Symphony, Love 2, and Le Voyage Dans La Lune.

Air’s sound is most often referred to as electronica. Their form of electronic music has been stated to be influenced by the synthesizer sounds of the 1970’s such as Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis, and Francis Lai. Other influences named include psychedelic and progressive rock pioneers Pink Floyd; film composer Ennio Morricone; krautrockers Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk. Other inspiration has been drawn Space, Jean-Jacques Perrey and Claude Perraudin, as well as fellow French music maker Serge Gainsbourg and soft rock duo The Carpenters.

Air use many of their studio instruments (like Moog synthesizers, the Korg MS-20, Wurlitzer and Vocoder) live on stage, where their ability to improvise is more clearly highlighted. The band performs the well-known tracks from the albums live as extended or altered versions. Air often works together, both in the studio and live on stage, with artists like Beth Hirsch (Moon Safari), Françoise Hardy (Jeanne), Jean-Jacques Perrey (Cosmic Bird), Gordon Tracks (Playground Love and Easy Going Woman), Beck (10,000 Hz Legend). During their 2004 tour they featured Dave Palmer, and on the 2007 tour, drummer Earl Harvin, Vincent Taurelle and Steve Jones. Much like their music, they have worked with quite an eclectic group of fellow musicians and artists.

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My Top 10 Favorite Air Songs

1. Playground Love 
from the album, Virgin Suicides

I’m a high-school lover,
and you’re my favorite flavor.”

2. Sexy Boy
from the album, Moon Safari

Moi aussi un jour je serai beau comme un dieu.”

3. All I Need
featuring Beth Hirsch

from the album, Moon Safari

All I need is a little time,
to get behind this sun and cast my weight.

4. You Make It Easy
featuring Beth Hirsch

from the album, Moon Safari

You make it easy to watch the world with love.
You make it easy to let the past be done.”

5. Cherry Blossom Girl
featuring Hope Sandoval

from the album, Cherry Blossom Girl

I don’t think to feel like being shy,
don’t think I wanna stand it anymore;
I just want to say ‘Hi’.”

6. The Vagabond
featuring Beck
from the album, 10,000 Hz Legend

“I could lose my soul right here.”

7. Alone in Kyoto
from the album, Talkie Walkie

8. The Duelist
featuring Jarvis Cocker & Charlotte Gainsbourg
from the album, Pocket Symphony

“In the time it takes a handkerchief to fall to the ground,
one of our lives will be over.”

9. Do the Joy
from the album, Love 2

The world is on the brink,
the brink of our extinction,
the end of an era,
the end of a genre –
do the joy
.”

10. Kelly Watches the Stars
from the album, Moon Safari

“The stars,
the stars.”

sexyboy

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