Album Review: Air "10,000 Hz Legend"

Music originally started as sound representation of visual reality. Approaching Air's new album, 10,000 Hz Legend in these terms, you get some interesting results: The last track, Caramel Prisoner, has someone gently strumming an acoustic guitar by the side of a motorway as cars whizz by. Then a UFO descends and the strumming and Doppler effects disappear to be replaced by the electronic equivalent of surf breaking.

With Beck and Japanese sound collagists, Buffalo Daughter, contributing to the French duo's mix of ambient and eclectro-funk-rock, there is bound to be plenty of eclecticism flying around the room. Sometimes, as at the end of Don’t Be Light, where digeridoo and Spaghetti Western whistling suddenly appear, you cant help getting just a little irritated by the sheer willfulness of it all.

Indeed, the most effective songs are those that eschew this kitchen sink aural promiscuity, develop more focus, and stay within the parameters of song structure like the suave electro-country-funk of The Vagabond or the eerie, Pink Floydish How Does It Make You Feel, which uses the synthetic voice usually reserved for the renowned physicist Dr. Stephen Hawking to good effect.

Colin Liddell
Tokyo Journal
June, 2001
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