Before Daft Punk took the pop world by storm with Get Lucky, the most prominent French band outside of France was Air. At the turn of the century their dreamy lounge music traveled efficiently in international space areas. Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel were everywhere with their sophisticated synth based music. They brought back vintage sounds from the original Moog synthesizers, the Korg MS-20 and Wurlitzer and made them sound cool again. They played around with the Vocoder way before hip-hop artists (with no voice) leveraged it to make them sound better. Which didn’t actually work, I think.

Their 2001 album is one that leverages Radiohead influences (Electronic Performers) with a touch of Pink Floyd (in the hit single How Do You Think It Feels). Acoustic guitars sound astonishingly great besides electronic elements on all tracks, bringing a lot of warmth around the cold synths in the lounge era of the end of the 90s to early 2000s. Quality guests like Beck, on The Vagabond, bring the duet to higher grounds.

 

Radio #1 was the hit single that was the catchiest of all songs on Air’s third opus. At the other end of the spectrum, Radiant sounds like it has been created for massages and spas. Almost new age.

Almost 15 years after its release, “10,000 Hertz Legend” wouldn’t necessarily qualify as one of the “have to have” albums of all times, but it sure regroups quality music that aged well. Air had made a great impact with their first album “Moon Safari” back in 1998. The single Sexy Boy was playing everywhere, as music fans were now dancing to a more sophisticated beat, with new and old sounds mixed with great skills. Their video was also remarkable for its puzzling storyline.

 

After 2001, Air didn’t fly as high. They made a few albums that sounded more like soundtracks (for imaginary movies) like “Le voyage dans la lune” in 2012. We haven’t heard as much of them as in the “10,000 Hertz Legend” days, unfortunately. Air sure paved the way for other European bands like Justice, Daft Punk and Stromae who stormed with success in the rest of the world, which is quite an accomplishment.

AIR
10,000 Hertz Legend
(Source / Virgin, 2001)

-Genre: electronic pop
-In the same style as St-Germain, Beck, early Daft Punk

Follow the band via their Facebook page
Listen to videos on the band’s YouTube channel

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About The Author

Nicolas Pelletier
Fondateur et rédacteur en chef
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Mélomane invétéré et rédacteur agréé, Nicolas pratique la critique en mode olympique: il parle de tout, tout le temps, depuis 1991. Il a publié 4 500 critiques de disques et concerts dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur enMusique.ca, dont il a également été le rédacteur en chef de 2009 à 2014. Nicolas a publié "Les perles rares et les grands crus de la musique" en janvier 2013, un ouvrage de 1250 pages en deux tomes.