Air is a music duo from Versailles, France, consisting of Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel.
Air's debut EP, Premiers Symptômes, was followed by the critically acclaimed album Moon Safari, the re-release of Premiers Symptômes, The Virgin Suicides score, and subsequently albums 10 000 Hz Legend, Everybody Hertz, Talkie Walkie, Pocket Symphony, Love 2 and Le voyage dans la lune.
Formation of the band:
Nicolas Godin studied architecture at the École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Versailles, and Jean-Benoît Dunckel studied mathematics before forming a band in 1995. Before founding Air, Dunckel and Godin played together in the band Orange, with others such as Alex Gopher, Xavier Jamaux and Jean de Reydellet. The former two have subsequently contributed to remixes of tracks recorded by Air.
Initially Nicolas Godin was alone. He recorded a demo with members of Funkadelic as his backing band before releasing his first entirely solo effort 'Modular Mix', which featured production by Étienne de Crécy.
Air's sound is often referred to as electronica; their form of electronic music was influenced by the synthesizer sounds of the 1970s such as Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis, and Francis Lai. Other influences include psychedelic and progressive rock pioneers Pink Floyd; film composer Ennio Morricone; krautrockers Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk; early pioneers of the eurodance electronica subgenre Space; Jean-Jacques Perrey and Claude Perraudin (although there are some echoes of dance music styles in the production); French crooner Serge Gainsbourg (Histoire de Melody Nelson, for example); and soft rock duo The Carpenters (Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft, originally by progressive rock band Klaatu for example).
Air use many of their studio instruments (like Moog synthesizers, the Korg MS-20, Wurlitzer and Vocoder) live on stage, where their ability to improvise is more clearly highlighted. The band performs the well-known tracks from the albums live as extended or altered versions. Air often works together, both in the studio and live on stage, with artists like Beth Hirsch (Moon Safari),Françoise Hardy ("Jeanne"), Jean-Jacques Perrey ("Cosmic Bird"), Gordon Tracks ("Playground Love" and "Easy Going Woman" - Gordon Tracks is a pseudonym of the French singer Thomas Mars from Phoenix), Beck (10 000 Hz Legend), on the 2004 tour with Dave Palmer and on the 2007 tour with drummer Earl Harvin, Vincent Taurelle and Steve Jones.
Air have often collaborated with American film director Sofia Coppola. They composed the music to her debut film The Virgin Suicides in 2000. Air drummer and former Redd Kross member Brian Reitzell put together the soundtrack to 2003's Lost in Translation, including one original contribution by Air titled "Alone In Kyoto". The soundtrack for Coppola's October 2006 film Marie Antoinette featured a track by Air ("Il Secondo Giorno").
Air wrote and played the music of the album 5:55 by Anglo-French actress and singer Charlotte Gainsbourg, which was released in August 2006.
Air have recorded a DJ mix album, Late Night Tales: Air, for Azuli Records' Late Night Tales series. The release was initially scheduled for October 2005, but was delayed several times. It finally was released, complete with a new sleeve design, on 11 September 2006.
On September 18, 2006, Darkel, a solo album by Jean-Benoît Dunckel, was released.
City Reading (2003) started as an idea for a collaboration with contemporary Italian writer Alessandro Baricco, known for his unusual characterizations and lyrical, poetic style. Baricco contacted Air in summer 2002 with the idea to marry narration of texts from his book City with live original musical accompaniment. The performance premiered live in November 2002 at Rome's Teatro Valle, and was deemed such a success that both parties resolved to make a full studio recording that resulted in the album City Reading: Tre Storie Western.
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