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Air's 'Le Voyage' Strikes a Surprisingly Human Tone

Published: Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 14:02

Georges Méliès is having quite the comeback. The revolutionary French filmmaker, famed for his dreamily surreal visions of the future, is the prime subject of Martin Scorsese's Golden Globe-winning, Oscar-nominated "Hugo." With that, the hundreds of shorts Méliès shot at the dawn of the 20th century have been screened and scrutinized, none more than 1902's "Le Voyage Dans la Lune" ("A Trip to the Moon"), based on the stories of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne.

Then there's Air's attentiveness to Méliès' moon trek. The French electronic duo (Jean-Benoit Dunckel, Nicolas Godin) are renowned for their own cinematically starry-eyed aesthetic, especially after having scored Sofia Coppola's "The Virgin Suicides."

This CD+DVD package finds Air scoring Méliès with a surprisingly human sound, an emotional, occasionally aggressive musicality that never dips into spacey kitsch. Air bubbles ("Cosmic Trip") and gets bombastic ("Parade"). They groove and gallop as if striding merrily on the moon ("Sonic Armada").

Although the Air pair doesn't rely exclusively on mirroring Méliès, there is a rich sense of jittery movement to the duo's compositions that calms considerably to let Beach House's Victoria Legrand (on "Seven Stars") and Au Revoir Simone ("Who Am I Now?") spin their lyrical tales.

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