A Fascinating Journey Amplified with Electronica Ambiance Air’s Le Voyage Dans La Lune (A Trip to the Moon)
by Charissa Lock @charissalock
You’re 10 years old and are in line for the Space Mountain ride at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. There are “stars” encompassing you from every direction in the tunnel you are waiting in, with planets, asteroids and other items in space captivating your attention. Not even realizing the line has moved, you’re next to take a seat in the spaceship. While making twists and turns it seems that you are lost in a world of the unknown, where recess and homework are inapplicable. The feeling of awe, intrigue, and forgotten connections with our world is powerful. The French duo Air (Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel) is able to tap into this area in your mind and leave you catching yourself looking up at the stars for moments longer than usual. Le Voyage Dans Le Lune certainly is a trip to the moon, and a sometimes dark, other times hopeful journey at that.
Before discussing the album, I urge you to spend ten minutes of your very busy and very stressful life to watch the 1902 silent French film bearing the same title as Air’s 2012 release (Le Voyage Dans La Lune Movie). Not only can you pick up on musical connections between the two, but it brings a whole new (or should I say old?) view on what Air wants the listener to experience. The idea of our solar system and things we hold uncertain to be adventurous, beautiful, and good versus evil. What we are slowly loosing as a species with science explaining everything and people telling us what to think, our imagination is left to Cymbalta and Avatar (disregarding neither). We need songs with titles like “Astronomic Club” and “Moon Fever” to stretch our creativity, imagination and wanting more to our daily lives than a Medium Hazelnut Ice Coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts (or Starbucks for all you West Coasters).
Le Voyage Dans La Lune is broken up into different types of astronomical sections. There are some great beats created in this album. Starting off with the first track “Astronomic Club,” there’s a darker, more nervous approach along with the upbeat nature. Another is in “Seven Stars” (Hooray For Earth’s “True Loves”?) and a Daft Punk-type sound appears in both “Parade” (one of my favorites on this album) and “Sonic Armada.” As we get into the latter tunes, we get the space as represented in something like “Tron” where flashing lights are everywhere and you’re running up the side of a building in a fluorescent bodysuit (no, not Chairlift’s). You then have your Space Mountain ride type in “Cosmic Trip,” where a building of tension in a relaxed and airy atmosphere leads to a preparation for lift off being spoken by female vocals and later a typical 1950s advertising male voice. This is not done in a cheesy and ridiculous way, but more in a somehow suspecting and wanting it to happen, way. The most eerie and unsettling track is “Who Am I Now?”(vocals by Au Revoir Simone) which is also different with there being more of a focus on lyrics than the music. The other songs are worth noting for their musical composition, even the 18 second “Homme Lune.” Finally we have, “Lava” a wonderful way to end your musical journey with a soft beginning and a heavier build up (the guitar melodies sound awfully familiar to the score in “Le Voyage Dans La Lune”…) completed with an unbuckling your seat belt and stepping off the spaceship finality.
Air has created an original score for Georges Méliès’ “Le Voyage Dans La Lune” restored version of the film that is in film festivals worldwide. Making perfect sense, artists with this ability to create an atmosphere captured over 100 years ago is respectable and reminds you that even though we know there cannot be life on the moon, we are still able to use our imagination. With so many things blocking our creative minds (and not all on purpose), it is important to listen to something like Le Voyage Dans La Lune to exercise this necessary, and often neglected, part of our brain.