Thursday, March 29, 2012

Le Voyage Dans La Lune - Air (SPRING ALBUMS 2012)

Le Voyage Dans La Lune

Astralwerks Records.

SCQ Rating: 80%

Moon Safari’s lasting legacy has certainly been paved around futurist ideals but that hasn’t topped its status as a pioneering, modern-day make-out record. The sensuous mood elicited from Air’s 1998 classic has continuously teased expectations since, throughout the androgynous 10,000 Hz Legend and Love 2’s mixed bag, but it’s as ingrained a trademark as the duo’s French accents. Le Voyage Dans La Lune, Air’s second soundtrack-based effort, may focus more on the astronomical wonder of the moon but, like George Melies’ famed 1903 sci-fi, it’s no less rooted in fantasy.

Making a soundtrack operate like an album takes delicate craft but it’s helpful when the artisans have built a career defying easy categorization. As with their proper full-lengths, Le Voyage Dans La Lune feasts on aloof experimentation: one track features Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckel on vocals, others refer those duties to special guests (Au Revoir Simone, Beach House’s Victoria Legrand), while others still explore vast instrumental possibilities. Even when compartmentalized this way, Le Voyage Dans La Lune embellishes a ten-minute narrative with complimentary shades and emotions. The shimmering “Moon Fever”, which wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Pocket Symphony, offers a rippling calm for listeners to survey Air’s alien landscape, whereas “Cosmic Trip” fuels a momentous coda of bass, toy-box keys and smeared strings. The vocal tracks also echo the space cadets’ journey, dropping woozy anxieties (“Who Am I Now?”) and starry-eyed yearnings (“Seven Stars”) to deepen the gravity of a film that has amazed for well on a century.

Surprisingly, the few tracks that reveal their score-bound intentions – namely, the ones that compliment the mis-en-scene most rigidly – are indeed the most rewarding. “Parade” boasts an otherworldly but salacious guitar hook that spikes over a choral and live-drum terrain while “Sonic Armada” rockets sci-fi synth-work and 70s funk to a psychedelic extreme. Such experiments can be understood via Le Voyage Dans La Lune’s accompanying DVD or absorbed as part of the record’s fully out-there moments. Either path results in the same satisfying adventure, so long as you aren’t trying to make out with anyone at the time.

Below is the full restored film, accompanied w/ portions of Air's score:

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