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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pocket Symphony - a decent progression from the pop-heroes of France
I think Pocket Symphony is a brilliant production in many ways; it works nicely as a floating, semi-challenging, time-consuming atmosphere. Not many hits on this record, but who needs hits when you get a good, solid load of tracks - like the almost ingenious "One Hell of a Party" (channeling a smooth, dark feel through the rusty voice of Jarvis Cocker) and "Mer du Japon"...
Published on 15 Mar. 2007 by saikobjorn

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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Electronic Performers
Now almost 10 years since the classic Moon Safari was released, Monsieurs Dunckel and Godin once again emerge from their Parisian bunker with another slice of Gallic-tinged soundscapes, whispy melodies and movie-like operatics.

Pocket Symphony is AIR's fourth `proper' album but unlike their criminally underrated prog experiment 10,000hz Legend and the slightly...
Published on 20 Mar. 2007 by Johnny Corkers


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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Electronic Performers, 20 Mar. 2007
This review is from: Pocket Symphony (Audio CD)
Now almost 10 years since the classic Moon Safari was released, Monsieurs Dunckel and Godin once again emerge from their Parisian bunker with another slice of Gallic-tinged soundscapes, whispy melodies and movie-like operatics.

Pocket Symphony is AIR's fourth `proper' album but unlike their criminally underrated prog experiment 10,000hz Legend and the slightly disappointing follow-up Talkie Walkie, this album has more in common with their motion picture soundtrack to Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides.

For the uninitiated Pocket Symphony might be difficult to like. There's none of the duo's breezy melodies of Moon Safari or the hard electronic stylings of 10,000hz. Indeed, there isn't even a hint of a `radio-friendly' track so forget anything as catchy as Cherry Blossom Girl here. Pocket Symphony is slow and stately, melancholy and sombre. Like most of AIR's output, it's upon repeated listenings that this album really starts to weave it's magic. This is an album that demands you invest time to explore it's sparse but somehow lush world.

Common person Jarvis Cocker and The Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon provide guest vocals on One Hell of a Party and Somewhere Between Waking and Sleeping, injecting both tracks with plenty of downbeat, weary understatement.

Pocket Symphony will probably appease fans desperate for new material but it may be just too impenetrable for newcomers. It's a fine album no doubt, although it certainly isn't easy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pocket Symphony - a decent progression from the pop-heroes of France, 15 Mar. 2007
This review is from: Pocket Symphony (Audio CD)
I think Pocket Symphony is a brilliant production in many ways; it works nicely as a floating, semi-challenging, time-consuming atmosphere. Not many hits on this record, but who needs hits when you get a good, solid load of tracks - like the almost ingenious "One Hell of a Party" (channeling a smooth, dark feel through the rusty voice of Jarvis Cocker) and "Mer du Japon" and its beautiful samples of the Japanese Sea (like in Alone in Kyoto). "Mayfair Song" is also a really nice tune, featuring the choir/robot-like voice also heard in "Run" on the Talkie Walkie album.

In my opinion, a nice approach from Godin and Darkel. Check it out!

If you've already heard Moon Safari and Talkie Walkie, however, I would recommend 10,000 Hz Legend instead of this - if you want Air with a twist of darkness, that is.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's not Moon Safari, or Talkie Walkie, but it's still a good album in its own right., 12 Mar. 2007
By 
M. Hamer (Tamworth, Staffs) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pocket Symphony (Audio CD)
I've read all the other reviews of Air,s new album Pocket Symphony, and its obvious that there are two camps of opinion. No it's not Moon Safari, or the brilliant Talkie Walkie, but it's still a good album in its own right. After all talented artists need to move on. We don't continuously want re-makes of Moon Safari do we? (surely).

Pocket Symphony is a lot more melancholy and sombre, and doesn't have any lighter tracks to break it up, and therefore each track tends to blend into the next. In which case it becomes more ambient, musical wallpaper than an album of stand out tracks, But that's OK.

However sometimes I feel Air know exactly what they're doing, I mean ...you can just imagine advertising companies and Sophia Coppola on the phone right now.

There are a couple of guest appearances as well. Jarvis Cocker mumbles through "One hell of a party" sounding like he has the mother of all hangovers. Neil Hannon on "Somewhere between waking and sleeping", but JB Dunckel still gives the best performance vocal wise.

Not the best album to date, and in summery...I think maybe one problem with this album, is there are no real stand out tracks, and therefore doesn't really take you anywhere. It's probably best played as back ground more than anything...definitely not a driving CD!

I'm personally giving it 4 stars, because although its not what Air fans may have expected, its still a good album in it's own right, which I'm sure that given the chance it will grow on you, as it has me.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In my pocket, 17 Mar. 2007
By 
EA Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pocket Symphony (Audio CD)
Air can be relied on to stick to a signature sound -- lush and dreamlike -- and still be able to wedge in a bit of new material.

In the case of "Pocket Symphony," they stick pretty much to the same formula as their previous release, "Talkie Walkie" -- sweet, slightly symphonic electropop that sounds like something to dream to Yeah, same ol'. Yet somehow that does't interfere with the enjoyability of this pretty, satiny music.

It opens with a hollow tapping and a soft acoustic riff melted into a piano melody. By the time the soft waves of synth kick in, the little melody is quietly hypnotic, as it expands into a shimmering little piano-synth epic... only to coil back up into its piano melody and hollow drumming.

That's "Space Maker," and it's only the warmup for the remaining songs. Air trips softly through a series of songs that are mainly gentle electropop, but with a few classical flourishes sprinkled throughout it. Piano, strings and a bit of horn all make their way into the music.

And they manage a few odd twists, which break the music out of its somnolent sound, and keep it from sounding monotonous -- rippling piano laced with twinkly synth, twisty synthpop, glitchy balladry, and an acoustic ballad or two with some soft keyboard. They even have the spare, twangy Asian-inspired sound of "One Hell of a Party."

Basically, "Pocket Symphony" has Air's trademark sound, which hasn't change substantially since the less soothing electronics of "10,000hz Legend," but they can spice it up with some unexpected twists and new sounds. Not a huge surprise, but very beautiful and soothing nonetheless.

The music itself is a shimmering weave of instrumentation and synth. The latter is pretty flexible, providing some ragged glitches, smooth waves, twiddles and twinkles. And it's wrapped around like a satin blanket over the soft guitar, a dash of horns and bells, and a sweep of soft strings just under the synth.

Not to mention that brilliant piano -- it can jab and ripple through the music. And the musicians have gained some new skills as well. Apparently Nicolas Godin learned to play some Japanese instruments, the koto and the shamisen, which add an exotic, angular edge to the smooth melodies.

"Pocket Symphony" doesn't go many new places, but it upholds Air's reputation for smooth, sophisticated electropop with the odd little moment of experimentation. Definitely a good listen.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Patchy, 15 Sept. 2008
By 
Bruce Percy - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pocket Symphony (Audio CD)
It seems that every alternate AIR album is a good one. Talkie Walkie was a lovely album but Pocket Symphony leaves me cold. There are perhaps around three tracks on this that are good - Once Upon a Time, Photograph and Night Sight are standouts, but the collaborations are pretty dire with Jarvis Cocker's Party getting my vote for weakest effort on this album.

My advice would be to save your money on this one and go out and buy Charlotte Gainsbourg's 5:55 album, which was written and produced by AIR, and is more of a melodical AIR effort than this patchy piece of work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Smooth and refined, 11 Oct. 2007
By 
R. Herriott "casalingua" (Denmark) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pocket Symphony (Audio CD)
To be brief, it's a wholly satisfactory album. There's nothing clunky or abrasive here yet it's a record which has plenty of understated energy.

Joby Talbot who normally works with Neil Hannon from Divine Comedy adds some of his string-arranging magic. Only Jarvis Cocker's rather laboured vocals fail to really add much and seem to stand too far out from the mix to work as well as they might. To be honest, you don't buy an Air record for the text or for flashy vocals. Jarvis C is trying too hard.

Air offer you a laid back techno-melancholy. It's the instruments and melodic elements that do the work. The vocals take back seat, at least until Jarvis is let in front of the Sennheiser. Once past Mr Cocker's overwrought exhalations, the album revs up with "Napalm Love" which, for Air, sounds almost aggressive. And it stays good to the last drop.

So, in short, this is good one, a particularly good one.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great ideas, 18 April 2007
By 
Douglas Miller "practical psychologist" (Pezenas, France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pocket Symphony (Audio CD)
Air have a sound and a style that is their own but part of their appeal is that their references are explicit. This album is no exception.

This a true return to form and their best since the soundtrack to Virgin Suicides. Some of their ideas on the previous two albums were interesting and just didn't work but this time round they have created a real 'whole'.

The two standout tracks for me are:

1. 'Somewhere Between Walking and Sleeping' - a terrific (and perhaps intentional) pastiche of Spirit in their 12 Dreams of Dr Sardonicus era. Given their well-publisized reference points this could well have been what they were doing.

2. 'Mer Du Japon' - stylistically close to Suicides and creates a great mood change when the album might be in danger of drift.

In a way it does Air a disservice to cite influences when they are such a unique group with their own sound. This is an album of the highest class and I highly recommend it.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathless, 11 Feb. 2007
This review is from: Pocket Symphony (Audio CD)
This album leaves me breathless. With every new album Air's sound gets stronger and more whimsical. This is a breath taking album, something to help you chill out, relax to and enjoy.

It's quite reminiscent of Talkie Walkie but the smooth shallow grooves have been enhanced further building a catalogue of light yet intensive grooves.

If you only listen to one track it has to be "Somewhere between Walking and Sleeping" - beautiful.

I highly recommend it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Return, 6 May 2007
This review is from: Pocket Symphony (Audio CD)
"Pocket Symphony" does not immediately stand out as an Air album and is clearly a break from their normal style.

Air appear to have moved away from the electronic style of previous albums and, although this album does bear similarity to "Talkie Walkie" rather than "Moon Safari", this does stand out as a break from the instantly recognisable sound of Air.

No tracks stand out as being a future release to the charts, unlike on previous albums.

"Pocket Symphony" is more likely to appeal to fans of Air as a group and of "Talkie Walkie" than those who know Air from the singles from "Moon Safari".
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4.0 out of 5 stars A long time coming, 22 Dec. 2010
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This review is from: Pocket Symphony (Audio CD)
I have not been very impressed with the offerings from Air since the fantastic Moon Safari. Talkie Walkie had some good moments and was listenable up to a point. However, nothing has been remotely close until now. Still far from the groundbreaking first album this is still very good and a breath of fresh air. Such a shame its taken all this time for a respectable follow up. Mind you many other acts from that time have done nothing decent for years, like Basement Jaxx, Groove Armada, Zero 7, so good to see an exception.
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