Air (French band)


Air performing in England, 2010
Background information
Origin Versailles, France
Genres Downtempo,[1] space rock,[2] electronica[3][4]
Years active 1995–present[5]
Labels Astralwerks/EMI France
Associated acts Phoenix
Members Nicolas Godin
Jean-Benoît Dunckel

Air is a music duo from Versailles, France, consisting of Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel.[5]

Air's debut EP, Premiers Symptômes, was followed by the critically acclaimed album Moon Safari, the re-release of Premiers Symptômes, The Virgin Suicides score, and subsequently albums 10 000 Hz Legend, Everybody Hertz, Talkie Walkie, Pocket Symphony, Love 2 and Le voyage dans la lune.



Nicolas Godin studied architecture at the École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Versailles, and Jean-Benoît Dunckel studied mathematics before forming a band in 1995. Before founding Air (erroneously considered as an acronym of Amour, Imagination, Rêve (Love, Imagination, Dream)),[4] Dunckel and Godin played together in the band Orange,[5] with others such as Alex Gopher, Xavier Jamaux and Jean de Reydellet. The former two have subsequently contributed to remixes of tracks recorded by Air.

Initially Nicolas Godin was alone. He recorded a demo with members of Funkadelic as his backing band before releasing his first entirely solo effort 'Modular Mix', which featured production by Étienne de Crécy.[6][7][8]

Musical style

Air's sound is often referred to as electronica; they were influenced by psychedelic and progressive rock pioneers Pink Floyd.[9][10]

Air use many of their studio instruments (like Moog synthesizers, the Korg MS-20, Wurlitzer and Vocoder) live on stage, where their ability to improvise is more clearly highlighted. The band performs the well-known tracks from the albums live as extended or altered versions. Air often works together, both in the studio and live on stage, with artists like Beth Hirsch (Moon Safari),[11] Françoise Hardy ("Jeanne"), Jean-Jacques Perrey ("Cosmic Bird"), Gordon Tracks ("Playground Love" and "Easy Going Woman" - Gordon Tracks is a pseudonym of the French singer Thomas Mars from Phoenix), Beck (10 000 Hz Legend),[12] on the 2004 tour with Dave Palmer and on the 2007 tour with drummer Earl Harvin, Vincent Taurelle and Steve Jones.

Other works

Air have often collaborated with American film director Sofia Coppola. They composed the music to her debut film The Virgin Suicides in 2000. Air drummer and former Redd Kross member Brian Reitzell put together the soundtrack to 2003's Lost in Translation, including one original contribution by Air titled "Alone In Kyoto". The soundtrack for Coppola's October 2006 film Marie Antoinette featured a track by Air ("Il Secondo Giorno").

Air wrote and played the music of the album 5:55 by Anglo-French actress and singer Charlotte Gainsbourg, which was released in August 2006.

Air have recorded a DJ mix album, Late Night Tales: Air, for Azuli Records' Late Night Tales series. The release was initially scheduled for October 2005, but was delayed several times. It finally was released, complete with a new sleeve design, on 11 September 2006.

On September 18, 2006, Darkel, a solo album by Jean-Benoît Dunckel, was released.

City Reading (2003) started as an idea for a collaboration with contemporary Italian writer Alessandro Baricco, known for his unusual characterizations and lyrical, poetic style. Baricco contacted Air in summer 2002 with the idea to marry narration of texts from his book City with live original musical accompaniment. The performance premiered live in November 2002 at Rome's Teatro Valle, and was deemed such a success that both parties resolved to make a full studio recording that resulted in the album City Reading: Tre Storie Western.


Main article: Air discography

Studio albums

Compilations and remix albums


The group Air won the award of Best Music Video at the 2011 Byron Bay International Film Festival for the video to "So Light Is Her Footfall".


  1. "Bent: The Everlasting Blink". PopMatters. Retrieved 2015-07-04.
  2. Aaron, Charles. "Air, 'Moon Safari' - 100 Best Albums of the Nineties". Retrieved 2015-07-04.
  3. Bush, John. "Air". Retrieved March 8, 2014.
  4. 1 2
  5. 1 2 3 Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. p. 12. ISBN 1-84195-017-3.
  6. Lesieur, Jennifer: "AIR de A à Z". Étudiant, L', 2002
  7. Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. pp. 12. ISBN 1-84195-017-3
  8. James,Martin, 2003, "French Connections: from discotheque to discovery", Sanctuary Press, London. ISBN 1-86074-449-4
  9. Matthew Perpetua (October 12, 2009). "Air Interview". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved December 2, 2011.
  10. Sam Pryor (November 1, 2009). "AIR: Studio Symmetry". Electronic Musician. Archived from the original on February 24, 2010. Retrieved August 24, 2015.
  11. "Beth Hirsch". Retrieved 2015-07-04.
  12. "Air: 10,000 Hz Legend | Album Reviews | Pitchfork". 2001-05-28. Retrieved 2015-07-04.

External links

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