Underrated: Air, 10 000 Hz LEGEND
It's safe to say that the members of French duo Air were feeling themselves when it came time to make the group's second album.
In a classic case of reacting to the pressure of following up such a landmark debut as Moon Safari--responsible for jump-starting the electro-lounge movement of the late 1990s--the pair wanted to make sure they weren't completely co-opted by the mainstream: "10,000 Hz Legend was more experimental, trying to be more crazy," is how Air's Jean-Benoit Dunckel summarized the record during a 2014 telephone interview from France.
Opening with the decidedly experimental "Electronic Performer," 10 000 Hz Legend delved into much darker corners of the band's sound, from the ominous alien vocoder vocals of "How Does It Make You Feel," to collaborations with Beck ("The Vagabond") and SuGar Yoshinaga of Buffalo Daughter, the LP's overall vibe something akin to "The Band Who Fell to Earth."
“We were kind of pretentious going into 10,000 Hz Legend,” admitted Air’s other half, Nicolas Godin, during a separate 2014 phone call from France. “We were full of ourselves after Moon Safari, so there was a lot of ambition on [10,000 Hz Legend]. I think we tried too hard with it."
Listening back to the album, 10 000 Hz Legend is a cool late-night/early morning meditation that plays like the soundtrack to the harsh realities that come after the after-party. A necessary palate cleanser before the refreshed and revitalized project that would become the duo's third studio effort, Talkie Walkie, released in 2004.
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