10,000 Hz Legend by Air (Review)
Something seems certain in the latest from the French duo Air: they’ve returned with a more mature sound. It’s noticeable that their soundtrack for The Virgin Suicides has probably affected their sound, even though the similarities with that work are few here. In this album, elegance and quality are still the norm in Air’s music, but those looking for light, chic poppish notes a la “Sexy Boy” or “Kelly Watch the Stars” can forget it, or perhaps just hang onto “Radio #1.” The songs here are more daring, denser, and at times, darker.
The opening piece, “Electronic Performers,” sounds like any song from Mouse on Mars, To Rococo Rot, or any of those great German electronic bands. “The Vagabond,” a duet between Air and Beck, lets us notice Beck’s signature, and is probably one of the best pieces on the record. “Radian“ ‘s intro sounds like a collaboration betwen Steve Roach, and Susan Deihim or Lisa Gerrard, but it suddenly mutates into something resembling The Virgin Suicides’ melancholia, only with a sampled flute orchestration.
Another piece that sounds pretty much like an Air/Roach collaboration is “Lucky And Unhappy,” another great jewel on this record. “People In the City” is a classic dark yet beautiful Air downtempo ballad. “Wonder Milky Bitch” gives us an idea about how Tom Waits or (especially) Leonard Cohen would sound if they experimented with electronica, complete with a Cohen-esque voice, to great effect! The piece that closes the record, “Caramel Prisoner,” has another ambient candence and a very somber note; at times it sounds like a remix of a Radiohead theme.
This is probably not what many expected of Air. Like Radiohead’s Kid A, 10,000 Hz Legend might be a shocking record at first, but don’t let a first listen mislead you; this is just confirmation that Air is one of the greatest bands around right now.
Written by Pekky Marqez.