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Air: Moon Safari

Air's synthesized space music longs for another time and place. Mars, maybe, circa 1976. A swirl of analog keyboards and measured grooves, Moon Safari is chill-out music in the truest sense, intended for heavy-lidded stargazing or, better yet, napping. But though the album masquerades as percolating electronica, Moon Safari actually has more in common with trippy easy-listening music. Air's Nicolas Godin and Jean Benoit Dunckel are both accomplished multi-instrumentalists, and the use of varied live instrumentation ensures that Air doesn't succumb to the chilly programming of much electronic music. The duo also draws from many trendy genres, including European pop, classic soundtrack music, and drugged-out funk, but Air consistently maintains an identity that's distinctly different from, say, Stereolab and its countrymen in Daft Punk. Yet despite the album's many attributes, it still takes a little time before Moon Safari's subtle songs sink in. Vamps like "Sexy Boy" and "Kelly Watch The Stars" at first seem hampered by repetition, while other tracks drift about lazily, meandering like cheesy lounge music. Once the squiggly hooks take effect, though, the songs attain a dreamy effervescence that validates the duo's apt moniker.

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