Boomkat Product Review:
Although Parisian duo Air might get a lot of stick from the critical elite, probably due to their mainstream success, I must say I've never given up hope. Okay so 'Talkie Walkie' was a bit difficult to stomach, but I could see why they did it - and coming after a quite remarkable and genre-defining soundtrack to Sofia Coppola's movie masterpiece 'The Virgin Suicides' I don't think we can begrudge them anything. Here the two musicians show how much they actually care about music by letting us thumb through their vinyl and find out what makes up their midnight listening. It was always obvious they had a decent collection - how else would they manage to so effortlessly bound between lounge, electro-pop, indie, progressive rock and haunting exotica, and this extensive, knowledgeable compilation only serves to confirm my suspicions. Just for starters, the compilation (and let me say now I am one of the most cynical compilation listeners out there!) begins with one of The Cure's finest ever moments 'All Cats are Grey'. It's not even that this is just a great track, but it's the sort of track that only a real fan would have ever picked out, it's not a brash, outgoing party tune - this is one of the moments that you assume only you know about and it serves as the perfect representation of what Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckel have achieved on this quite heart-stopping anthology. Then we have Black Sabbath - yes, Brummie rock God Ozzy Osbourne's band, with 'Planet Caravan', one of the bands spacier most out-there moments (you might know the Pantera version too...) and here we can lie back and enjoy it in a totally different context. And this is the other secret to the compilation, tracks taken out of their regular environment and re-aligned as if they were supposed to be there all the time. There's nothing worse than a compilation which sounds hacked together, a compilation which sounds lazy or opportunist - the two Frenchmen have here collected tunes that they quite clearly deeply love and most importantly tunes that fit together seamlessly to create an unparalleled late-night listening experience. Further on we are treated to the orchestral subtlety of George Delerue, David Sylvian's unique tones on Japan's classic 'Ghosts', Jeff Alexander's utterly heart-stopping 'Come Wander With Me' (which you might remember from Vincent Gallo's 'Brown Bunny' OST), Cat Power's mysteriously beautiful 'Metal Heart' and Elliot Smith's much misunderstood 'Let's Get Lost'. I could go on because frankly every track on here is perfectly placed, perfectly picked and a pleasure to listen to - really if you buy one compilation this year, then you need to buy this. It is not only the perfect representation of Air's far-reaching influence but a quite jaw dropping collection of melancholy, unpretentious classics. Utterly essential.