Album Reviews

Various – Late Night Tales: Air

(Azuli) UK release date: 11 September 2006

Late Night Tales have been increasing in popularity with the atmospherically minded musicians of late, compilations of their more laid back inspirations insightful and enjoyably languid that it’s no wonder Air have been called to join the ranks. In fact, it’s almost surprising that they haven’t produced a Late Night Tales sooner, given Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckel’s artistry at mood enhancing music.

Add to the mix a highly anticipated forthcoming studio album from the pair, a collaboration with Jarvis Cocker and a solo album coming from Dunckel due this October, and it’s evident that Air have been an extremely potent and fertile duo lately.

Their Late Night Tales is exactly what is expected. Secured placements of mellow, soulful and lounging classics as well as the odd soundtrack, it is a sublimely subtle blend compilation of calm and thoughtful tunes that are unsurprisingly relaxing and suave. Highlights include the sorrowful For The World by Tan Dun, a heartbreakingly futile tune full of broken promises and dreams and The Troggs‘ Cousin Jane is as wistful and hushed as ever.

A few oddities are included, such as Cat Power‘s trippy Metal Heart and and Robert Wyatt‘s offering of PLA, but essentially Late Night Tales by Air is as fluidly languid as their own music.

Though they are coming after the likes of The Flaming Lips and Belle and Sebastian, Air‘s compilation supports no-one’s musically ethos but their own, as Godin stressed: “With the way we compose, it’s not about the instruments or whether someone uses a Moog. We can do Air music with any instrument.”

And so they have done, combining a wide variety of tracks that come from complete musical contrasts but blending them in a way that Late Night Tales’ Air-time is evidently theirs.

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