Le Voyage Dans la Lune
Feb 07, 2012 Web Exclusive
In 1902 French director Georges Méliès released the short film Le Voyage Dans la Lune (aka A Trip to the Moon). It is considered to be the first sci-fi movie, in which, over the course of 14 minutes a group of scientists land on the moon and fight mushroom monsters, before returning home safely. Over a century later, the film has been given a complete visual restoration, and a new soundtrack thanks to iconic French duo Air. The project then served as inspiration for the band's seventh full-length album.
It would be difficult to name anyone more qualified to put romanticism back in flight. (Unless TSA agents are your cup of tea.) Throughout their decade-plus career together, Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel have made a career out of making the seemingly dated (cheesy synths, smooth elevator-ready refrains) seem impossibly cool. The world above our heads is a familiar theme for the band as well—non-terrestrial imagery peppers their past catalogue (i.e. "Kelly Watch the Stars," "Surfing on a Rocket," "Heaven's Light").
Here, the themes are again aeronautical, and the trademark synths are put to good use, but Le Voyage Dans la Lune isn't Moon Safari 2. This is Air hanging loose and rocking out (or as close to rocking out as two slick Frenchmen care to be). Along the way, they're joined by ethereal partners in crime Au Revoir Simone, and Beach House's Victoria Legrand, whose husky siren call seemingly originates from another galaxy on percussive centerpiece "Seven Stars."
But humorless chic this isn't. Sly winks to the film crop up among the playful compositions (composed predominantly on vintage instruments) such as a voice peeking through the meteoric shower of bells on "Cosmic Trip" to announce "Join us with no fear on our fantastic trip to the moon." A DVD of the restored film accompanies the deluxe edition of the album. However, knowledge of the film isn't necessary to appreciate the childlike whimsy of these 11 songs, which easily stand as some of Air's most inventive and inviting work to date. Air has reached for the future by embracing the past. Méliès would have approved. (en.aircheology.com)
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