Recorded by Air at Studio Apollo
All tracks written by Dunckel / Godin
- Electronic Performers
- How Does It Make You Feel
- Radio 1
- The Vagabond
- Lucky & Unhappy
- Sex Born Poison
- People In The City
- Wonder Milky Bitch
- Don't Be Light
- Caramel Prisoner
Justin Meldal-Johnsen - bass, vocals, drum sound
Roger Joseph Manning Jr - keyboards, vocals
Brian Reitzell – Drums, Drum Sounds
Beck – Harmonica & Vocals on "The Vagabond", Vocals on "Don't Be Light"
Buffalo Daughter – Vocals on "Sex Born Poison"
Jason Falkner – Vocals on "Radio #1"
Lisa Papineau, Julia Sarr, Ken Andrews, Elin Carlson, Barbara Cohen – Vocals
Corky Hale – Harp
Jean Croc - whistle
I just bought this CD after hearing it at my friend's place, and I love it. It's definitely not a typical new-age/electronic/down tempo record. Musically, it offers layers of Air's usual computer-sounding beats, but this is very different from The Virgin Suicides. It's darker, faster, and heavier. Lyrically, this album amazed me. I grow very bored of typical messages emanating from artists and DJ's, the aloof melancholy, the biting anger, the gushy romance. That's all great stuff, but Air provides a better trip from the ordinary that pushes the limits of perspective and reality.
"electronic performers" starts 10000 Hz Legend out with the eerie voice of something that sounds like those programs that read words, only much much better and without the breaks and strange pronunciations that make those programs cheesy. It's an announcement of what the album really is---a studio creation totally free from normal human vocals. I'm not sure if they used any, but it sounds like a computer singing to you, and that's how the song is written. The effect is very interesting.
"how does it make you feel" is quite different, with building choir-sounds and a "normal" chorus. But the computer is still present, asking us to stay with it, because we are "the most beautiful entities we have ever dreamed of" and invites us to space out with it.
"radio #1" is a unique song that reminds us that although it's easy to punch preset #1 and enjoy the probability that the music will be to your liking and taste, it's just filler. "when you need some fun, some good stereo gum" reminds us that music is just our way of passing the time and reflecting on life. "eject musical trash" implies that the carrier waves inhabited by songs are like invisible landfills, packed with silly-sounding pop songs, forgotten one-hit wonders, and strange but wonderful landscapes of sound.
the rest of the disc offers a gentle roller coaster of light and airy musings and slightly richer songs, but always with a touch of otherworldliness and completely without arrogance or pretentious choruses about relationships and the state of society. This is an accomplishment in and of itself. Instead of playing directly about things, it treats it's topics like some kind of radio spirit, observing the world of musica as it floats around.
Beck guest-vocals on "Vagabond", which grows on you intensely, and other highlights include "Lucky and Unhappy", "Sex Born Poison", and "People In the City".
The only weakness of this CD is it's low-key almost to the point where it seems detached from everything. I wouldn't have minded hearing a development of the computer-as-narrated theme, or a song that's about something concrete. But it doesn't bring the overall effect down many notches. I enjoyed the female vocals more than the male ones generally, and Air uses the computer's voice perfectly and doesn't overuse it. It's presence, especially on tracks like "electronic performers" are what make this CD.
Daniel J Cameron / USA