Over the years, Air has composed some solid electronic music. From ambient soundtracks (The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation), to five studio albums, the French duo knows how to relax the mind. The journey into tranquility continues with their March release "Pocket Symphony". I caught notice of Air's musical stylings in the flicks I mentioned earlier, and quickly found myself hunting down their previous works. Soon, Talkie Walkie became a mainstay on my late-night bedroom playlist.
Pocket Symphony keeps the same formula with a few twists, like collabs with Jarvis Cocker and Neil Hannon, and the incorporation of the Japanese instrument the Koto. The great thing about this group is their ability to blend electronic music with traditional instruments. Pocket Symphony begins with a percussive log drum and strummed acoustic guitar on "Space Maker", which sets the tone of the album. Reverberating piano is commonplace throughout, but is highlighted by the intoxicating etude that's the basis for the single, "Once upon a Time". The Koto makes its first appearance with the morning hangover inspired "One Hell of a Party". Air puts their trademark melancholy pathos to "Mayfair Song", "Left Bank", and "Lost Message".
There are a few upbeat grooves like the softer blues track, "Napalm Love" and "Mer Du Japon". The most complex parts of the album come from the sinister to sweet "Photograph" and a string arranged "Somewhere between Walking and Sleeping", which both play out like scores to a movie. "Redhead Girl" revisits the vocal effects from the Talkie Walkie album, before concluding with the ambient lullaby, "Night Sight".
Although the lyrics aren't bad, the golden moments happen between the words.
Simple structure and deliberate chord changes bolstered by excellent sequencing and effects leaves you with music that is minimal AND epic at the same time.
Replay Value: 4
Ever need something soothing to chill out to? this is it every time.
Air is a truly innovative group that I would suggest to anybody. Even though Pocket Symphony is similar to previous albums, their music is always an experience.
Album Gems: "Once upon a Time" "Mer du Japon" "One Hell of a Party"