Moon Safari

CJM Review

Soon, "French electronica" will be less of a genre description and more simply a term used to reveal where artists pay their taxes. There's nothing "daft" or "punk" about French duo Air (largely known in America through its contributions to Source-Caroline's distinguished Sourcelab series), a pair with feet stuck in the psychedelic lounge sounds of the past while also stretching towards the limits of aural-futurism. Moon Safari, the couple's first full-length release, is an exquisite wash of exotic pop melodies and serene instrumental ambiance; overall qualities that are maintained throughout the record despite the variations in expression unique to each song. The opening "La Femme D'Argent" is a mellow ride on a soulful organ-driven melody that coasts over a melodic bass line and a sonic backdrop of cosmic wallpaper. "Sexy Boy" alters the blueprint a bit with the introduction of tweaked-out Moog melodies, a bouncy backbeat, and effected vocals that float through the electronics as if lifted from a hazy dream. "All I Need" finds the duo drifting towards more traditional song structures with serene orchestration and straightforward female vocals that would fit as easily into efforts by Portishead as they would with one of Sarah McLachlan's releases. And while the construction of the cuts keeps changing, each of them achives the same destination: a magnificent marriage of old and new electronic techniques that grows more compelling with each listen.