New CDs: Air, Starsailor
February 03, 2004
Like so many other pop wizards, Air take their favorite David Bowie disguise and build a whole new sound out of it. The French electronica duo always sounds as if it's lost in erotic space, floating in the blue with Major Tom, combining the soppy balladry of Hunky Dory with the whooshing electronic haze of Low. Air's music is charged up with regret and longing -- too much for the Earth to satisfy -- and so they take off into the ozone.
The piece de resistance, though, is "Alpha Beta Gaga," which takes the happiest melody Air have ever composed and warps it with a cheerfully whistled chorus that sounds right at home in an alien musical environment full of bright pizzicato strings, theremin and even a banjo. It's an artificial paradise that allows the strangest emotions to flourish together.