Air French Band

You guys have probably had your fill of Britney this week. So here goes the post where I gush about one of my favorite bands.

My introduction to Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel came when the “Sexy Boy” video debuted on MTV’s Amp back in January ’98 (I have a freakish memory for release dates). I was intrigued that they were French (I mean, how much do the French really contribute to modern pop music?). Curiously, I wasn’t blown away by the music, but the video was totally hypnotic. Later that week when I spotted Moon Safari in the electronica bin of my horrible collegetown “discount” record store, I bought it ’cause the cover looked so damn retro-futuristic-watercolor-cool.

Fortunately, every song on the album was much better than “Sexy Boy.” “Talisman” was so haunting, I didn’t even cringe when they threw on the Go soundtrack (although “La Femme d’Argent” in that stupid shampoo commercial was sorta lame). The Moog Cookbook did a 9-minute remix of “Kelly Watch The Stars” that Fatboy Slim often spun to wind down the crowd after clubbing all night. Musically, it goes in a million different directions; try to find a copy on your preferred P2P network. I really wanted to buy a used Moog at this point, but the eBay shipping alone would’ve been $100.

Needless to say, the album didn’t leave my stereo for the 6 months after I first purchased it. It can be good to buy CDs on a whim for totally superficial reasons. Moon Safari is a classic. And Air may never put out anything as beautiful (though they’ve come close).

Two years later, the disc was still playing at every hip shoe store in SoHo, and Air started receiving buzz for their new Virgin Suicides soundtrack (download an MP3 of “Playground Love (Vibraphone Version)” here). That’s when I learned that the Moon Safari artwork, the weird “Sexy Boy” clip, the strangely compelling “All I Need” video, and most of the band’s other non-music media were the work of Mike Mills, a fantastic graphic designer.

This week Ready Made gives him due props in an article appropriately titled How Did You Get That F*&%ing Awesome Job?

You can watch Mike Mills’ greatest videos, commercials, and assorted goodies here. He’s done great vids for Les Rythmes Digitales, Moby, and other hot knob twiddlers, but definitely check out the Air clips.

And if you weren’t aware, the band has a new album Talkie Walkie dropping 1/27. I’ve been playing it for my coworkers and reactions have been mixed. I think Ray was the one who said it made him feel like he was in Brookstone. And my friend Lauren just asked if it was Enya. Grrr. It’s not that sleepy. Really. They’ve dropped the whole Pink Floyd vibe that marred most of 10,000 Hz. Legend and have gotten back to their roots: Burt Bacharach meets Daft Punk is the best way I could describe it. They’ve even dedicated a song to Mike Mills:

air – mike mills.mp3 (MP3 Link Removed)

Seriously, buy the new Air CD.

If someone from Astralwerks is reading this, I think you’ll agree you owe me free promotional crap.

Oh, and if you’re wondering where this blog got its name … Click.

Tags: Air