Friday, 4 April 2008

Air

Palais Theatre, St Kilda.

Listening to one of Air's albums is a divinely confusing experience. A mood of consuming tranquility gathers you up and sweeps you along a mesmerising electronic journey that will, by turns, calm you, jolt you, make you feel small and insignificant, then make you feel like you're the centre of the universe.

It's hypnotic. But Air's true genius is in making electronic music that feels somehow perfectly naturalistic.

La Femme D'Argent, the opening track from their 1998 opus Moon Safari loses you on a wet and windswept moor, before the rest of the album takes you on a journey through space, through time and through the darkest recesses of your own love and lust.

Imagine the music of an advanced artificial intelligence, deeply in tune with the human psyche and lovingly producing an aural accompaniment to the range of human emotion.

Each of Air's albums is a masterpiece of complex production and engineering, employing a bewildering array of instruments: electric, electronic, sampled and acoustic.

Because of all this, you might be tempted to think they're just a studio band, but their live show proves otherwise. With banks of keyboards, from the latest Korgs to the earliest Moogs, plus the simple trappings of a garage band, they can recreate that sound in the live space perfectly.

And they do more than just recreate it. They expand on it. They amplify it. The music wraps around you, enters you, lifts you up and carries you far away to a place you've never been before. At some point it stops being a simple concert and becomes a transcendent and meditative experience.

To go in to a show with high expectations is risky, and to have those expectations exceeded is a joy. But this was something even more than that.

It would have been unreasonable to expect what we ultimately took away from this show. I don't think I'll ever see anything quite like it again.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

beautiful and apt review babe. . .

paul said...

a brilliant review mate. i agree totally.