No one will ever accuse Frenchmen Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckel of being airheads. The duo, collectively known as Air, have released some of the most evocative and atmospheric electronic music in the past decade, and this year they'll continue to expand their artistry with two new albums.
The first, City Reading (Tre Storie Western), will be both airy and literary. The record, which comes out March 25, is a music-and-spoken-word rendition of Italian writer Alessandro Baricco's novel "City," about a young mathematical genius with a vivid fantasy life.
The production was birthed last summer when Baricco invited Air to perform live while he read excerpts from his book. The show premiered in November at the Teatro Valle in Rome, and met with such critical acclaim that the two decided to translate the project into an album.
For the disc, Air recorded over an hour of new instrumentals, which were mixed by Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, and combined with Baricco's readings. The track list will consist of three pieces, "La Putana di Closing Town," "Caccia All'uomo" and "Bird."
City Reading will mark the second time the group has written music for someone else's artistic endeavor. In 1999, Air created the dark, drifty score for Sofia Coppola's directorial debut, "The Virgin Suicides."
Air are currently in the studio working on more new material, and plan to release the follow-up to their 2001 album, 10,000 Hz Legend, before the end of the year.