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Air's soundtrack for Méliès's classic film proves full of inspired surprises

The album is absolutely bonkers - and confirms the duo can still deliver refreshingly new music 15 years on.

Air
Le Voyage Dans La Lune
Astralwerks
****

Over six albums, the French electronic duo Air explored varied sonic terrain from the cinematic to prog-rock. But while Jean-Benoît Dunckel and Nicolas Godin have a steady stream of ideas, it's when pushed by an outside creative force that they produce their best work.

Their soundtrack to The Virgin Suicides remains a career high, and they once again return to the film world by giving audio to Georges Méliès's classic 1902 science fiction silent film Le Voyage Dans La Lune (A Trip to the Moon). The duo rise to the occasion with some of their most compelling offerings yet.

While the 31-minute running time may seem quite lean, there are a lot of muscular compositions at hand. Parade is Air's most straightforward dance offering, yet with hip-swivelling riffs akin to Franz Ferdinand.

Sonic Armada recalls their classic debut Moon Safari with its musical intergalactic theme; flutes mix with funky bass lines as squiggly keyboards weave in and out. Beach House's Victoria Legrand also features on Seven Stars where her soft coos are matched against militaristic drumming and twinkling electronic effects.

The closer, Lava, finds the group at their most experimental. Beginning with a lush intro of keyboards, flutes and banjo, the song takes off into Syd Barrett-styled space rock before landing once again on top of brash synthesizers. It is absolutely bonkers and confirms the duo can still surprise 15 years on.

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