on 28 March 2002
What can I say? If I sound over the top, it's because this is how the album makes me feel. I bought Moon Safari and Premiers Symptomes (also by Air) from Amazon based purely on other reviews. What I found out when I put the CD's into my player is that Air are one of those bands who can change your mood, your day, your ideas of music in the space of one album. I say one album, but I recommend you listen to Premiers Symptomes then Moon safari back to back. By doing this you get to see how Air's ideas changed, and you will also notice how they remain consistently brilliant. I like EVERY track on Moon Safari as much as the last, but my favourite track is Ce Matin La. Listen to it on headphones. It paints a visual picture in your mind using sound. Moon Safari is simply an album that, when you hear it you think, well, nothing else matters. That wasn't too over the top was it?
on 18 May 2000
The rain starts to fall, a soothing bass riff floats in, an organ theme emerges, and La Voyage de Penelope begins. What an opener, and what a perfect way to relax into this hot bubble bath of an album!
Sexy Boy is still their most famous song and although a top tune, is not particularly indicative of their more laid-back style. Songs such as this may sound repetitive at first, but after a few listens, they become hypnotic, with delicate and intricate changes on each verse and chorus.
Beth Hirsh's breathy, Jane Birkin-like vocals add sex to the combination, and songs like Kelly Watch the Stars make ostensibly robotic, synthesised music sound as soulful and rootsy as any blues band.
Elsewhere there's the trumpet motif of Ce Matin-La and the pre-Cher Vocoder antics of Remember, the sadness of New Star in the Sky and the bleakness of Talisman.
Every song is beautifully crafted and performed, spanning the supposed gulf between primal dance music and pan-generational songsmithery.
Definitely the first 21st Century pop album.
on 10 November 2005
I bought this album speculatively because it had been recommended to me by the automated Amazon system. On reading the other reviews it sounded like a great album and, when it arrived, I was not disappointed.
La Femme d'Argent& relaxes you into your seat/bed/cell in 7 minutes of musical perfection which, although it can play unobtrusively in the background, demands that every chord and note is listened to, and absorbed. Tracks like this, and the beautiful Ce Matin La are contrasted by the poppy, high-bass Sexy Boy.
The album is consistent in the relaxed, but by no means easy-listening nature of the tracks, but also wonderfully diverse in its styles. The introduction of a female voice on All I Need and You Make it Easytakes the emphasis off the instrumentalists, and allows them to play with a beautiful set of vocal harmonies.
If you want dinner party music, do not buy this album - it's just too good to be played in the background.
Genuinely classic albums of the last twenty years are, in my opinion, hideously rare. 'Moon Safari' qualifies partly by having that important quality of unique feel, a world of its own. Godin and Dunckel don't hit you head on, they touch you gently in all the sensitive areas and surprise you from different directions. Inspired keyboard and bass runs and delightful rhythms pour out to create a bewitching, layered sound. Anyone who opens a pop album with a seven-minute instrumental is asking for trouble, but on La Femme D'Argent the bassline acts like a vocal. This sensual piece sounds out of time, about twenty years late, but it's gorgeous. The same can be said of the obvious hit, 'Sexy Boy', which sounds in places as if it comes from the same cloth as other late 1970s electronic pop hits such as 'Magic Fly'.
Following two such diverse tracks with something as breathtaking is difficult but they manage it with the giddy 'All I Need'. Using Beth Hirsch, whoever she is, for the vocal on this and 'You Make It Easy' is an inspired move. These are probably the best tracks but the album as a whole is a delight, even if they do borrow rather blatantly from The Beach Boys on 'Remember'.
on 31 December 2001
Before I heard this album I had been listening to Zero 7's Simple Things. I wrote in a review for that album, "... and the Air comparison, who are Air." How wrong can one person be. This album is the original chillout album bar none. Every single track is pure excellence.
Ok, maybe Sexy boy does get a bit repetative but you will never find yourself skipping any of these tracks.
My personal favourite is All I Need, which is one of my favourite songs ever. But they all come close with Kelly Watch the Stars, You Make It Easy, Le Voyage de Penelope and Talisman all coming close to the quality of All I Need.
Try our Simple Things by Zero 7 but don't get that instead. Get this and you won't be sorry.
on 5 July 2009
One of 1998's biggest hypes, French duo Air stormed the charts and numerous best of-lists of both critics and avid music fans. On their debut album, Nicolas Godin (bass, guitar, various keyboards) and Jean-Benoit Dunckel (dozens of keyboards), with the aid of several session musicians, successfully combine dreamy electro-pop, Kraftwerk and Aphex Twin-ambient, campy soundtracks and lush orchestrations into an organic, easy listenable whole. The album's well-known tracks "Sexy Boy" and "Kelly, Watch the Stars" are examples of the album on its poppiest. The first song is trance-like, has some manipulated robotic-sounding vocals (done by Dunckel and Godin, although they sound female), a melancholy Moog solo and some nonsensical lyrics:"Où sont tes héros aux corps d'athlètes, où sont tes idoles mal rasées, bien habillées" ("Where are your heroes with athlete's bodies, where are your badly shaven, well-dressed heroes"). The other song (which has a funny ping-pong video clip to accomapny it) is even more catchy, a bouncy pop song you'll immediately hum along to.
Two other highlights are the lengthy opening track "La Femme d'Argent," a great example of the duo at their most spacey, given the amount of eerie bleeps, Moog, soft strings, funky bass and hints of 60's camp. "Talisman" is a marvellous cinematic song that starts off very sober, but adds layer after layer (keys, pulsating bass, synths, drums, etc) until the drama is unleashed (after about 2 minutes). "All I Need" and "You Make It Easy" have seductive vocals by Beth Hirsch, could very well serve as the soundtrack to an arty soft porn movie (is it a dirty mind at work?), and are enjoyable. This last adjective can also be applied to the remainder of the album, but unfortunately there's not much else to mention. "Remember" is a short little ditty and funny because of the French accent, "New Star in the Sky" is decent lounge-pop to chill-out to, and both "Ce Matin Là" and "Le Voyage de Penelope" are unremarkable cinematic tunes that betray some Morricone-influence, especially the first one with the picked guitar and the use of harmonica.
Moon Safari's best moments are ideally suited for relaxation, since there's absolutely no ingredient that's bound to upset you. Moreover, some of the songs could easily qualify as aural treats, because of their gracious elegance, soothing melodies and lush instrumentations. Even the less impressive songs on the album are fun to listen to, but more in a background kind of way. They're like wall-paper: after a while, you no longer notice the pattern.
Liberally laced with vintage Moog synths, vocoders and phaser effects (a hint of Oxygene perhaps?) Moon Safari is undeniably retro in feel but modern in take. This album truly transcends genre and time. Retro and futuristic, chill out in genre yet still sounding relevant and influencing others to the present day. Moon Safari almost stands alone as a beacon of brilliance from that period in music and genre. At the time of its original release only Moby and Zero 7 were able to compete on equal terms, an impressive achievement by anyone's standards.
Long after the Late 90's Chill out period had passed on, and its band wagon jumped upon and flogged to death with literally hundreds of so called `chill out' compilations, many of variable quality and authenticity to the genre, Moon Safari survives with credibility and musical credentials fully intact. Subtly beautiful with `All I need' and `Ce Matin La', retro pop with `Sexy Boy' and `Kelly watch the stars' and moody with `New Star in the sky' and `La Voyage de Penelope', it is an album of varied mood and pace and easily washes over you with every listen, with tight clean and yet honest production values.
In short a treat for the ears, the soul and your life. At the time of writing this classic album (a phrase so often over used and under valued) is available brand new for less than a fiver. You owe it to yourself to own this album, put it on, and just let it play.
on 7 June 2001
Moon Safari will go down in history as THE chill-out album. Far more immediate than Air's latest offering, it is an absolute delight from start to finish. Beautiful female vocals, atmospheric robotic singing and the coolest instrumentals ever - French music has never been so hip. Kelly Watch The Stars and Sexy Boy may seem a little repetitive to some listeners, but they lend the music a gorgeously hypnotic ambience. Trust me, you need this album.
on 19 December 1999
This is not an album, it's a vehicle; it floats you on a cloud to a land of lullabies and day dreams, it takes you to a vast dusky landscape inside yourself and shows you parts of your soul that you never knew existed before, evoking the nostalgia of happy childhood playgrounds in "new star in the sky", forcing you to recognize and appreciate emotions that had been left stale until that first sumptuous listen. Allow different levels of your consciousness to be stimulated:the superficial but satirical "sexy boy", your very own heart strings manipulated as Godin and Dunckel strum out, among others, "all i need", let your own feelings be pinpointed and accentuated by "you make it easy", and relive your most magic moments over and over again to the whispers of "remember". Surrender, embrace and let yourself be taken over by pure sonic emotion. Don't be afraid to look inside the parts of you that it opens.
on 6 October 1999
This is synthesizer heaven with a mix of electronic pop thatwill make many try follow in their footsteps. This French band have managed to give us some good chill out music that you are going to hear at the beginning and end of many a house party. There are a few samples thrown in at places which keeps things fresh and they start with 'La Femme D'Argent' which starts the ball rolling very nicely. Another good song is 'Sexy Boy' and the single of the album, which is 'Kelly Watch the Stars' which is a great song full of great tempos and synth sounds. Other great songs that will add to your enjoyment of this album are 'All I Need, Talisman and La Voyage de Penelope'.