Monday, April 25, 2011

La musique - AIR

A foggy, rainy Monday with breakthrough sun by day's end. It's the perfect day for a moody, atmospheric soundtrack. Do you know the amazingly talented French duo, Air?

Jean-Benoît Dunckel and Nicolas Godin play an intoxicating psychedlic retro-tinged "chillout" electronica that is some of my favorite and some of my most precious music of all time.

I've had the great pleasure of seeing them live a few times. The best was a few years ago at Oakland, CA's historic Paramount Theater. This is a classic deco building where I'd previously only seen Miles Davis (in high school; the kind of event for which I believe the phrase pearls before swine was invented).

Air are a surprisingly upbeat live act. They're funkier that you'd think by listening to their recordings and they play all kinds of interesting analog musical equipment like Wurlitzers and Moog synths to geek out on, if you swing that way. Aside from that the band has been the soundtrack to so many important things in my life. In 2001 I met the man who would become my husband. Air's 1998 album Moon Safari was the soundtrack to our courting and falling in love in taxi cabs and clubs all over a city that was riding a fairytale high about to come crashing down. In 2004 they were still playing tracks from that album in the smoky little bars of Paris when my husband proposed to me there atop la Tour Eiffel on a windy January night. In 2008 I gave birth to my son listening to that same album. (I remember being vaguely embarassed that a song called Sexy Boy played during one conversation with my midwife. But ultimately the music soothed me to a place outside of time, outside my head.) This profoundly gorgeous, otherworldly music has truly been some of the most important in my life.

I am 10 years older than when I first heard this song. I'm a mother; I've moved to the suburbs. And it's been many years since I have consistently been as optimistic and carefree as this music still reminds me, occasionally, to feel. As it begins sprinkling again I want to offer two sweet Youtube finds: the first is an odd studio video of Moon Safari's hypnotic opening track La Femme d'Argent.

The second is the same song with scenes from Antonioni's classic 1960 film Eclipse.

A lovely drink of something warm and a very lovely week to you.

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