Release Date: 01.27.98
Record label: source / astralwerks
Take a Deep Breath - This Air is Fresh
by: bill aicher
So, have you heard Air yet?
If the answer is no, then it sucks to be you.
You are probably wondering who these guys are, especially since they are popping up on best of '98 lists everywhere. Spin voted them as the fifth best album of the year. I am putting them in my list as well. But how can a band you have never heard of, or if you have - you probably have heard little, be praised so highly?
The media doesn't think it will sell. Who would want to turn on the radio to hear what sounds like elevator music gone electronic anyways? I don't. But these two Frenchmen pulled it off. And they did a damn good job while they were at it.
Air has gone forward while the rest of the musical world has stood still. The strange part is that they have done so by going backwards at the same time. Their updated combination of lounge, muzak, and electronica is a sound like we have never heard. Unlike the typical electronic music of today, this is not set to be a dancefloor favorite. Although it is all smoother and more down tempo, it is not ambient either. Theirs is a sound all their own.
Highlights include their first single - "Sexy Boy" but there is much more. "Kelly Watch the Stars" mixes 80's Europop with 60's French style. "Ce Matin La" and "La Femme D' Argent" are both electronic lounge at its finest. The artistic talents of Nicolas Godin and Jean Benoit Dunckel are unsurpassed in this field - it is no wonder they have a following by American greats Beck and Mike D. (There is a remix of "Sexy Boy" done by Beck here.)
If you ever imagined sitting in a waiting room in the not-so-distant future, waiting for a flight somewhere - but nowhere in particular - this is the theme music for that feeling. You don't care where you are. You don't care when you are. You don't care where you are going. What is important is the where this music takes you - and it takes me to places I have never been before; like no place in my wildest dreams.