Album Review

Love 2

Love 2

by Air

8.2 / 10
5th December 2009

Reviewed by Hayley Koorts

A permanent fixture on the underground electronic music scene since 1995, the prolific twosome award us with their sixth studio album since ’97’s Premiers Symptômes (First Symptoms). AIR (Amour, Imagination, Rêve) have always tipped the scale more towards the lo-fi interpretation of “electro”, distorting the distinction between the grungy rock produced by the conventional four-piece line-up (two guitars, bass and drums) and the synthetic varnish of “techno music”.

Kicking off with a track inspired by the X-files backlog, “Do the Joy” is an ambiguous, otherworldly mantra, plastered in an array of spine-tingling, atmospheric effects. Enchanting pipes and the sounds of a tropical rainforest inhabit the second track, instilling the abstract passageway the two Frenchies are traipsing down. Fans of the more commercial Air (see: their Sofia Coppola collaboration on The Virgin Suicides) need not fear, for the crafty musicians have not abandoned all semblances of pop music, with tracks such as “So Light is her Footfall” and new release “Sing Sang Sung” fully equipped with lyrics, hooks and riffs with sing-along potential. Mind you, personally I feel their most stunning work lies in their pure, unadulterated indulgence in cinematic soundscapes and colourful stratums of musical dalliances.

After nearly fifteen years of active involvement in the creative scene of music, Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel prove that they are yet to scrape the bottom of the barrel.

The downtempo duo from Versailles have been very generous and open-minded in terms of musical influences. At times they evoke the kooky mystique of Björk, at others the psychedelic flare of ’70s’ acid rock, all the while toe-tapping around a smorgasbord of electronica and synthesizers. Unlike the flagships that typify the electronic genre, AIR have resisted the ephemeral glitter that litters the short-lived disco tracks at the top of the charts. These may be destined for heavy consumption, but are also considered washed-up within six months. On the other hand, AIR succeed in coating each song in a sheen of longevity, which saves them from aging despite their modern make-up.

Other electronic musicians, due to their ubiquitous nature, who are implementing the same instruments as the French pair will no doubt set the mould for this generation’s sound, and therefore fall victim to overexposure in a year or so. With “Love 2”, we are witnessing the work of a creative team not interested in five-minute success, rather in the piecing together of a monumental soundtrack worthy of enjoyment ten years from now. That is what has isolated AIR from their contemporaries. Although you may find this album categorized in the same section as artists such as La Roux, Ladytron, Crystal Castles at your local CD store, be very aware that unlike the aforementioned, AIR albums don’t carry expiry dates.

Sounds Like: A stripped-back Daft Punk composing the background music for a new-age spiritual retreat on the moon.

Listen To While: Sleep-walking through an enchanted forest of secret thoughts and late afternoon contemplations.

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