- 31 Jan 12
French duo create their very own space oddity
Le Voyage Dans La Lune (A Trip To The Moon) is one of the most important movies of the silent era. In the more-than-a-century since its 1902 premiere, Georges Méliès’ silent film has been parodied and appropriated by everyone from The Smashing Pumpkins to The Mighty Boosh. Believed lost, a hand-coloured print of the 14 minutes-long sci-fi classic was rediscovered in 1993 and restored for last year’s Cannes Film Festival, with Méliès’ countrymen Air charged with providing a contemporary soundtrack.
From this initial commission, the duo went on to develop an 11-track album. As with their previous soundtrack work on Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides (1999), Air here manage to prick the skin of the source material. The whimsical, wilful lunacy of Méliès film is evoked in swooshing electronics and clattering beats. Beach House’s Victoria Legrand makes a suitably spaced-out appearance on ‘Seven Stars’, her languid, float-away vocal contrasting neatly with earthy rhythms. Elsewhere, ‘Sonic Armada’ delivers some unexpectedly funky kicks, whilst ‘Who Am I Now?’ – all twinkling noises and breathy loveliness courtesy of Au Revoir Simone – glitters like a distant constellation.
For some, the ebb and flow of certain tracks might prove altogether too smooth, one synth-led instrumental passage bleeding into the next. Certainly, there’s nothing here to match the standout pop thrills of ‘Kelly Watch The Stars’, or ‘Playground Love’. Nonetheless, bookend tracks ‘Astronomic Club’ and ‘Lava’ – with their widescreen atmospherics and alien textures – adroitly fulfil the cinematic brief and convey a sense of celestial wonder.