Hailing France as their homeland, Nicholas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckel formed their electronica/techno/jazz/ 'trip-hop' band in 1998 and released their first album, Moon Safari. Rolling Stone seemed to enjoy Air's debut, saying 'Moon Safari is an album of exquisitely produced electronic pillow talk with a lounge-a-tronica vibe thicker than Maurice Chevalier's accent.' All of their albums have been released on the Astralwerks record label, known for its concentration of electronica music. Influences of psychedelic rock genres are also apparent. Air's unique style is often said to be influenced by Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream.
'Sexy Boy,' a single from Air's first album, was also turned into a successful music video that aired on MTV in 1998 and attracted more fans to the group's unique style. Mike Mills is the director who put Air on the mainstream MTV map with the 'Sexy Boy' video. Air's music is a favorite in the film industry with songs in blockbuster films like Go, 10 Things I Hate About You, and Academy Award Winning Lost in Translation. Other bands have also attached themselves to Air's music by doing remixes of some of their most beloved songs. Fat Boy Slim often spun 'Kelly Watch the Stars' to wind down the crowd after clubbing all night. The Moog Cookbook also did a remix of the same song. In 1999 Air released Premiers Symptomes which was received well by fans, but without as much praise as Moon Safari. Their next album, however, really put them on the music map. The Virgin Suicides soundtrack pushed Air into the limelight. Not only was the film itself successful, but people found themselves asking 'Where can I buy the soundtrack?' and Air delivered at music stores around the country.
Their 2001 album 10,000 Hz was not very widely played and did not receive as much attention by fans or critics as their three previous albums. It seems listeners did not know what to think of the more psychedelic Pink Floyd vibe of the album. But Air got back on track with City Reading and the much acclaimed Talkie Walkie in 2003 and 2004, respectively. Their fans are spread across the world with a large fan base in their native France, a huge following in the U.S., and a surprisingly large group of fans in Australia. Much of the world has been exposed to Air's music through mass media like television commercials, movies, and television shows.
As their popularity grew, so did ticket sales on their tours. They have toured all across Europe as well as the United States receiving swells of applause and good reviews. Their live performances are said to be more jazz influenced with a flowing improvisational style. Though it would be easy for a two-person stage show to feel a bit dull or sparse, Air is most certainly a performance band. They dress the stage with various instruments including moogs, electric keyboards, guitars, and drums. Sometimes accompanied by other musicians, the Air pair puts on a live show much appreciated by their fans.
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