Records Revisited: Air – Moon Safari (1998)

Take a seat aboard the spaceship »Moon Safari« and embark on a journey back to Earth as you gaze at the planet from afar. It’s been 25 years since this record first took flight, and it’s been climbing high as ever. In fact, it’s the perfect antidote to modern life.

When Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît christened their small two-man band »Air«, they had no idea that their first work would immediately become quite so big. Very big, in fact. Perhaps it is the audacity of a début, the desire to let loose and not live up to expectations, that makes Moon Safari what it is today.  

When Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît sat down at their desks in 1997 to create melodies on tape recorders, samplers, keyboards and synthesisers, a storm of French productions were brewing around them that would soon sweep the world of its feet. Daft Punk released their masterpiece »Homework«, Bob Sinclar and Cassius conquered the charts. When Stardust later released their track »Music Sounds Better With You«, it was clear that what was happening needed a name. They called it »French-Touch«—a title that would later grace Air.  

Victory of the stars

»Moon Safari« does not impose itself. Its beauty expects nothing from you, it just floats through the room. The synthesisers are washed with Perwoll, their robes are fluffy. While the title track »Remember« is woven around metallic lyrics that sound cool and cosmic in their robotic sound, tracks like »Ce Matin Là« or »Kelly Watch the Stars« contrast with the loveliness of this record. The interplay of bittersweet romance and cosmic science fiction gives »Moon Safari« its special fairytale quality.

The tracks have a slightly nostalgic sonic aesthetic that evokes longing. The darker, slower pieces on this record lead to escapism from reality, as the mind quickly loses itself in galactic spheres. Once there, everything real fades away around you.

»Moon Safari« has a rhythm that seems to be out of time, and that’s exactly why it will take off again in 2024 in a completely different way.

What was already flooded with nostalgia seems twice as strong today. The longing is great, reality is no longer what it used to be. A here and now? Hard to find. On »Moon Safari« it exists—a rhythm that seems to have fallen out of time, and that’s exactly why it will take off again in 2024 in a completely different way.

Fittingly, »Air« will once again be travelling around Europe with their début album. The duo have just announced a tour where they will perform »Moon Safari« live on stage for the first time in various cities. To mark this special anniversary, the two musicians have also released an anniversary album. In addition to demo tapes and live recordings, Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît have curated a selection of unreleased songs that are finally reaching an audience after 25 years. »Moon Safari Rarities« is the reissue of an album that honours the French touch of the late nineties and celebrates itself most of all.