Moon Safari – Air


1998 – Virgin

Electronic/ Ambient/ Downtempo

moon safari

French electronic duo Air’s debut studio album is a slowly winding journey through laid back beats, downtempo stylings, synth tinkles, all the way to the heart of boredom. I mean, the opening track La Femme D’Argent runs on for a whole seven minutes of nothing, and the record really doesn’t pick up from there. All the music is just so overplayed and drawn out that whatever little interest might have been held in the funky bass lines or the afro-inspired drum rhythms dissipates by around halfway into this beleaguering track. Finally, however, Sexy Boy rolled around and I got somewhat excited to finally hear what I assumed was going to be some real music judging from the cut’s delicious little intro. Sadly I was once again disappointed upon realizing that this intro to what should have been a great track was all I was going to get and it was going to drag on for another five minutes before simply ending and moving on to the next piece of blasé masturbation.

I suppose there is some small amount of worthwhile material in this overladen release if you sort out all of the dreamy chaff from the wheat. The beat of Kelly Watch The Stars, for instance, managed to hold the track together and contextualize all floaty keyboard jams and chilled-out-acid-house bass lines to the point where they were bearable, and the cold sparseness of tracks like You Make It Easy and Talisman was interesting enough to note, but still these tracks drag and wear out their welcome much faster than they end. Not to mention that between most of these semi-decent little tunes is a whole bunch of irritatingly intangible pap. I mean, it might make for some fine cafe music when I’m sipping on my latte and reading my Sartre, but it’s definitely not something I’d want to stomach when actually listening to music.

I think that is really where this album sits; comfortably in the CD player of some Parisian cafe helping to set the mood for pretentious conversation, and, to tell the truth, that’s not something that interests me at all. When I listen to a record I’m looking for something to grab onto, something that invades my brain and makes me want to tell all who will listen to “listen to X for the greatest riff in the world”, but with Moon Safari all I could really say at the end was, “well… that was some music.” I mean, the dreamlike trance tones and the lacklustre vocals just serve to lull the listener into the sense that they are listening to something smart, when all they’re really getting is a load of stoned Kraftwerk tunes and an unhealthy dose of narcissism.

So, all in all, Air’s Moon Safari is a record that I can’t really recommend to anyone (excepting cafe owners). It is just so overwhelmingly dull and repetitive in its attempts at kitschy charm, and really it’s rather irritating at times. I guess there are a couple of almost palatable tracks on here, but, on the whole, it’s probably not worth going to all the effort for unless you’re having a lot of trouble sleeping.

RATING: */5

Here is the track Talisman, on of the more palatable pieces of boredom contained on Air.

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