By Gilbert Garcia
It's easy to understand why the French duo Air is director Sofia Coppola's musical collaborator of choice. Coppola not only hired Air to provide the soundtrack for her directorial debut, The Virgin Suicides, but got them to contribute a song, "Alone in Kyoto," to her acclaimed sophomore effort, Lost in Translation. Like Coppola's films, Air's music is all about ambience, space, unstated tensions, and understated emotions.
With the stunning 1998 album Moon Safari, Jean-Benoit Dunckel and Nicolas Godin mixed elements of electronic music and modern European pop and created a new synthesis. Atmospheric, ethereal, and mildly funky, it appealed to fans of electronica, but its gorgeous melodies and lush, extraterrestrial synth textures begged to be listened to on headphones, not danced to in clubs. And unlike so much new-agey tripe that mimicked it, this music was cool, but rarely bland. If Burt Bacharach had been born in Paris in the 1970s, this might have been the direction he'd taken.
` By Gilbert Garcia `