Air – Le Voyage Dans La Lune
- By Chris Jefferies -
- Jan 30, 2012
Best known for their 1998 hit single 'Sexy Boy', French electro duo Air have delved into the artsy word of silent cinema for their latest album. The lunar obsession from their debut album 'Moon Safari' is still in evidence on 'Le Voyage Dans La Lune', which has a distinctly space-age feel to it, from the countdown to ignition sequence on 'Seven Stars' to the syncopated synth of 'Sonic Armada'.
This is fairly inaccessible stuff it has to be said, and the whole experience is truly baffling in places on the first listen. As a largely instrumental record, it's quite hard to get a foothold, as only two of the 11 tracks feature vocals, and many of those are in French.
Throughout this record, Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel continue to push the envelope in terms of genre, rhythm and style, often at the expense of clarity. As soon as you think you've got your head around the synthesised riff or melodic hook, it will mutate into something completely different in an eerie, shape-shifting fashion.
At its weakest points, this album can be utterly cringeworthy in its breathy spoken word sections and obtuse use of pitch shifting. Le Voyage Dans Le Lune was clearly not written with chart success in mind. That said, there are a couple of more edifying moments; in particular the upbeat and almost danceable 'Parade' and the lilting tones of 'Moon Fever' stand out as real highlights.
There is definitely something futuristic about this record, but almost in the way that bands like Pink Floyd, Genesis and Yes sounded futuristic in the 1970s. Indeed, the guitar-based closer 'Lava' could easily have been lifted from the 'Dark Side of the Moon' sessions.
This intriguing blend of futuristic and yet somehow retro makes 'La Voyage Dans La Lune' a highly eventful and challenging listen, but certainly not a record that you'll find yourself revisiting over and over again.
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