AIR: The French electronica band’s name alone conjures up elemental and celestial thoughts, and the band itself lives up to its namesake by feeding off the spacey, electronic sounds made popular in the ’70s by artists like Pink Floyd. The duo AIR started in the ’90s as one of the founding bands for what would become genre “electronic.” AIR’s music has widely influenced pop music, especially the brand of electronic pop currently so popular in European nightclubs.
Though the duo has stayed true to its electro-pop, futuristic sound despite the fact that some of the songs (specifically “Sing Sang Sung”) from its most recent album, Love 2, include the tambourine and flowing, unaltered vocals, both elements that are more characteristic of alternative and indie music than electronica. There are also those tunes like “Do the Joy” that remain heavy on the synthesizers and low on anything remotely non-electronic.
AIR’s psychedelic-rock, electro-pop fusion has been used by film director Sofia Coppola to great effect in such movies as “The Virgin Suicides.” While some of the duo’s earliest material made me feel as if I should be in a lobby or an elevator on my way to a doctor’s office, Love 2 had more than a few bright points that piqued my interest, as AIR’s instrumentation and sonic texture feels much more varied and diverse than its debut works.
Though I wouldn’t exactly consider AIR my cup of tea, its experimentation with an electronic sound as well as its multicultural influences make for a different and exciting aural experience in the right place and right time.