Thursday, July 14, 2005

Listen! Listen...!!!, etc.: Just Deux It.-Part 4

Duos. Brilliant. Overlooked. Ok? Ok.

Air: Moon Safari

Looking back on the week's reviews, it seems that the bands I picked were all very "Rock" in their own way, even Quasi, whose instrumentation is quite atypical for a rock band. For my last review of the week I wanted to shift gears a little bit and end this particular theme on a more mellow note. Enter J.B. Dunckel and Nicholas Godin, better known to their faithful followers as Air.

Air owes a great deal to the lounge-y sounds of the Sixties and Seventies, opting for a certain "Swingers In Space" vibe, picking up the paisley trail where groovy synth giants such as Jean Jacques Perrey and Gershon Kingsley left off. Though this album was released in 1998, it has a certain retro-modern flair. It sounds like the music of a future people envisioned perhaps thirty years ago or more, and perhaps it is this precise reason why it doesn't sound dated to me seven years after the fact. Everywhere you turn on the album, there are traces of Moog fluttering and sputtering in the background as the warm insistent bass steadily drives the pace. There are slightly Bacharachian touches with horns and strings, which are most effective on the album's darker journeys such as "Talisman". And while the bulk of the album makes for colorful, yet sedate tunes to gaze at the ceiling by, songs like "Sexy Boy" and "Kelly Watch The Stars", with their bouncier passages and vocoded lyrics could almost be classified as (gasp!) Mid-tempo!

One of the best surprises on the album, however, are two tracks sung in English by the silky voice of Beth Hirsch. There are the suprisingly folkish guitars augmented by the subtle twinkles in the background and the other phasing in and out of the Fender Rhodes and slight moan of an organ underneath in "All I Need", as well as the simulated claves and melancholy harmonica break toward the end of "You Make It Easy".

Despite the fact that Air has grown up some in the past few years, and their sound with it, this is the album that still stands out as their finest in my opinion, if for no other reason than the fact that it proves that sometimes the term Easy Listening can be applied and taken literally without it sounding like an insult.

Key Tracks: Sexy Boy, All I Need, Kelly Watch The Stars, Talisman

I will be back next week with an abbreivated round of more reviews for your reading pleasure.

See you soon!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, how are you? My name is Vanessa and I’m with Ariel publicity. I
just came across your great write up about Air and wanted to contact you
regarding Beth Hirsch. Until now, Beth is best
known as the voice & co-writer behind Air’s internationally successful
debut album, 'Moon Safari' with their classic hit, “All I Need” as well as
“Everything”, the stunning duet with Senagalese singer Wasis Diop for the
feature film, “The Thomas Crowne Affair” starring Pierce Brosnan.

If it might be of interest, I’d love to send you some more information
on Beth and maybe you’d like to chat with her about her experience with
Air and her latest solo effort, WHOLEHEARTED. Many consider it her best
work to date, thanks to the ethereal & soulful combination of Hirsch's
voice and songwriting combined with the richly harmonious production of
Jez Colin & Phillippe Balatier who've called aboard such fine musicians
as keyboardist Deron Johnson (Miles Davis, Seal), guitarist Jaime Kime
(Jewel, Michelle Branch) and trumpetist Enzo Villaparedes (Earth, Wind
& Fire) among many others.

Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing back form you! My email is

p.s. if it may be of interest also we love doing contests and giveaways
to reward your readers!