erasing clouds

Air, 10, 000 Hz Legend (Source/Virgin France)

reviewed by Anna Battista

Imagine this scene: a barren landscape, desolate as only the desert or some far away undiscovered planet can be. Outside the temperature is impossible to bear, but inside, in the space station, it is cool enough and you can feel at your ease hanging around the high-tech environment or listening to some music. You're on planet Air, this is their space station and the music coming from the PA feels like oxygen pumped into your lungs or, more aptly, let's admit it, it sounds like a blowjob. As stated, this is the world of Air or, at least, this is what looks like their world should be as featured on their album cover.

It's evident that being a Math teacher or an architect wasn't enough for Jean-Benoit Dunckel and Nicolas Godin. And actually they already stated this when they released their 1998 album Moon Safari, which came out a bit like the proverbial monolith of 2001: A Space Odyssey: nobody knew where it came from, but everyone was carried away by it and it infused a new life in the French music scene.

Proper follow-up to Moon Safari, if we exclude The Virgin Suicides soundtrack, 10, 000 Hz Legend represents the glorious awakening of electronic digital pop and voluptuous sexual fantasies. The opening track, "Electronic Performers," in which Air seem to be fighting fit to break your resistance and make you their number one fan, is followed by the languid "How Does It Make You Feel?" and by "Radio #1" the first single taken from the album. And what keeps on following is even more intriguing: "The Vagabond" and "Don't Be Light" feature in fact star rover Beck, and the sensual and spooky "Sex Born Poison" features the amazing presence of Buffalo Daughter.

So, between a mesmerising track such as "People in the City" and a Western-evoking track by a title which makes you wonder if Air still have problems with the English language or are just being ironically French, "Wonder Milky Bitch," the album unveils wrapping you up in the soundscapes of these two post-modern French troubadours. Shine on, you crazy electronic performers.

Issue 6, July 2001 | next article

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