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Pocket Symphony

Air Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 18.43 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Pocket Symphony + Moon Safari - + Talkie Walkie (Ltd.Ed)
Price For All Three: CDN$ 56.54

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  • Moon Safari - CDN$ 18.79

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Product Description

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Some bands like to thwart expectations, and Air is one of them. "Spacemaker," the opening of Pocket Symphony, sounds like a cousin to their instrumental retro-lounge "La Femme D'Argent" from 1998's Moon Safari, right down to the electric bass break in the middle. But this isn't a return to their breakthrough sound. "Spacemaker" really does pave the way for an almost classically somnolent outing from the French duo. Air once proclaimed, "In any classical song you can take five seconds of it and make a loop and you make a great pop song with it." I think they took that to heart on an album that echoes Debussy, Bach, and Reich, but which also contains a Beatlesque eclecticism redolent of Revolver. But instead of the Beatles' Indian flourishes, Air look to Japan, using a plucked koto on a couple of tracks, but also a zen garden sense of sonic placement. Although Jarvis Cocker from Pulp and Neil Hannon of Divine Comedy sing on a couple of tunes--adding some emotional gravitas--Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckel do most of the vocalizing in their preternatural Munchkins-on-Quaaludes lisp. Air are known for their chilled melancholy, but the mood of Pocket Symphony is introspectively somber. Only "Mer du Japon" rises to a groove, while the rest recline in a luxurious torpor. That mood works especially well on instrumentals like the minimalist cycles of "Night Sight" and the Enoesque "Lost Message," with its circular piano line and ice-sheathed string synthesizers. Pocket Symphony won't yield any pop hits, but it could be the soundtrack to endless rainy afternoons. --John Diliberto

Product Description

Japanese version of their 2007 album includes one bonus track, 'Time Capsule'. Now entering the 10th year of a highly illustrious career that has seen the band grow in stature to become one of the most instantly recognizable names in music, Air (Nicolas Godin and JB Dunckel) return with their most seductive and accomplished album to date, full of the rich musical invention that their millions of fans worldwide have come to expect, and one that will forever cement their reputation as two of the most talented musicians of their generation. Having practically created their own sub-genre with 1998's classic Moon Safari , Air continues to enjoy one of the most avid fanbases of any band as well as the admiration of celebrities, press and other media contacts. With each new album, Air's foothold in the U.S. market becomes stronger and their career is awash in artistic and commercial highlights.Not only are they among the most constantly requested bands for film and TV licensing, they are also a major draw on the live circuit,having sold out the 18,000 seater Hollywood Bowl in 2004 in support of their previous benchmark album Talkie Walkie. Their U.S. catalog sales are fast approaching the 1,000,000 mark and are among the most consistent of any band in their standing, attracting many thousands of new fans each year. Pocket Symphony sees the band re-uniting with Grammy-winning producer Nigel Godrich and features collaborations with Jarvis Cocker (One Hell Of A Party) and Neil Hannon ( Somewhere Between Waking And Sleeping). Twelve brand new Air songs that ooze the classic Air sound of swirling synths, crisp percussion, mellow charm and ethereal bliss, all with a far-Eastern twist courtesy of Nicolas Godin's new found interest in Asian instrumentation, namely the Koto and the Shamisen, a 3-stringed instrument which is one of Japan's most popular classical instruments. Working their way throughout the album as musical ricochets, these unearthly sounds add another motif to Air's magnificent sonic architecture.

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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dreamy as always, just a little darker. March 20 2007
Format:Audio CD
French duo Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckel "Air" return with their new album "Pocket Symphony".

This is the fourth studio album proper and the follow up to 2004's "Talkie Walkie". It's co-produced by long time collaborator Nigel Godrich.

Made up of 12 songs that were recorded over the last 18 months, the album features vocals by Dunckel and Godin themselves but also from Jarvis Cocker and Neil Hannon (Divine Comedy).

Air once again achieve that rare supernova of artistic vision that dares to reconcile palpable, unapologetic ambience with unpretentious soulful simplicity. They create the alternate now, an environment that begs escapism without denying humanity.

Despite being a distinct step away from orthodox pop modes, Pocket Symphony is described as a return to some of "Moon Safari"'s pastoral atmospherics.

Nicolas puts it thus: "This album is different. We decided to go back to the soundtrack music-style, with more instrumentals and less songs".

And yet paradoxically, it's a far cry from the series of Top 20 pop hits they enjoyed in 1998, with clear notes of minimalism among the clingy hooks and deceptively complex piano lines.

While conventional instruments continue to play a great role, Air have fashioned several tracks from the new album with the addition of Far East classical instruments which Godin learnt to play from an Okinawa master - namely the Koto (usually referred to as a Japanese floor harp) and the Shamisen, a 3-stringed instrument which is one of Japan's most popular classical instruments & resembles the banjo. Working their way throughout the album as musical ricochets, these unearthly sounds of an alien nature add another motif to Air's sonic architecture.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In my pocket March 17 2007
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Air can be relied on to stick to a signature sound -- lush and dreamlike -- and still be able to wedge in a bit of new material.

In the case of "Pocket Symphony," they stick pretty much to the same formula as their previous release, "Talkie Walkie" -- sweet, slightly symphonic electropop that sounds like something to dream to Yeah, same ol'. Yet somehow that does't interfere with the enjoyability of this pretty, satiny music.

It opens with a hollow tapping and a soft acoustic riff melted into a piano melody. By the time the soft waves of synth kick in, the little melody is quietly hypnotic, as it expands into a shimmering little piano-synth epic... only to coil back up into its piano melody and hollow drumming.

That's "Space Maker," and it's only the warmup for the remaining songs. Air trips softly through a series of songs that are mainly gentle electropop, but with a few classical flourishes sprinkled throughout it. Piano, strings and a bit of horn all make their way into the music.

And they manage a few odd twists, which break the music out of its somnolent sound, and keep it from sounding monotonous -- rippling piano laced with twinkly synth, twisty synthpop, glitchy balladry, and an acoustic ballad or two with some soft keyboard. They even have the spare, twangy Asian-inspired sound of "One Hell of a Party."

Basically, "Pocket Symphony" has Air's trademark sound, which hasn't change substantially since the less soothing electronics of "10,000hz Legend," but they can spice it up with some unexpected twists and new sounds. Not a huge surprise, but very beautiful and soothing nonetheless.

The music itself is a shimmering weave of instrumentation and synth.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  52 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of 2007: Grows on you March 22 2007
By Manny Hernandez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I am happy with "Pocket Symphony". With their 2007 comeback album, the French duo has managed to combine their sound from "Talkie Walkie" with their earlier work, yielding an album that has a crisp electronic sound hovering lush ambient soundscapes in the best Air style ever.

Now, I must admit the first listen to it didn't quite sink in, and there are still (after numerous listens) tracks that I don't enjoy too much ("One Hell of a Party" and "Napalm Love" being the top two). But the rest of the album has so many GREAT moments that it is bound to offer listeners music for the ages. The opening and closing tracks are two such cases, which are among the best music to come out in 2007.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sit back and enjoy... (not for anyone in a hurry) June 4 2007
By Paul Allaer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Ever since Air's instant-classic debut album, 1998's "Moon Safari", the French duo has sought to try and follow up to and meet that high standard. Their output since then has divided the fan base. I, for one, absolutely love the often-maligned 2001's "10,000 Hz Legend" album, but was disappointed with 2004's "Talkie Walkie" album. Now comes the new album.

"Pocket Symphony" (12 tracks, 48 min.) is as atmospheric as Air will get while not making a movie soundtrack. The instrumental opener "Space Maker" sets the stage. First single (in the UK--can you imagine Air getting a single released in the US?) "Once Upon a Time" is a beautiful dreamscape. Jarvis Cocker is the vocalist on "One Hell of a Party", which reminds me almost of cabaret-style music. Another instrumental "Mayfair Song" flowes into "Left Bank", bringing the duo back home. "Mer du Japon" ironically enough does not feature some of the Japanese sounds found on several other tracks here (such as the beautiful "Somewhere between Waking and Sleeping" and "Redhead Girl"), and in fact I find this song to be somehwat out of whack with the rest of the album. The instrumental closer "Night Shift" is the perfect ending to this album.

Is this album as good as "Moon Safari"? No, but Air may never be that good again, who knows. That said, "Pocket Symphony" is a fine album, which I have been enjoying ever since its release a few months ago. I happen to catch Air at Coachella in late April, and due to technical difficulties they only put on a brief set, which was very disappointing. I'd love to see them again in concert in better circumstances.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful April 11 2007
By Avernus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Air have definately taken a new direction with their latest release, 'Pocket Symphonies'. Abandoning the more 'lounge/pop' feel for a more lush and vibrant form of ambient/pop, 'Pocket Symphonies' is a soothing and totally captivating piece of work.

It does take a few listens to fully appreciate this one.. First you have to get use to the new vibe, then you have to listen to the album in its entirety to understand its low-key focus. This album is very minimalistic, focusing heavily on atmosphere and less on the pop tunes that formulated older albums. Most ambient albums tend to wander off into obscure territory, but Air keep everything relatively short and too the point; though nothing is too short, or too direct. There is just enough variety to keep you captivated, and enough soothing melody to keep your eyes closed and your brain completely tranquilized.

This is an absolutely stellar album to meditate, read, do homework, drive or just relax to. 'Pocket Symphonies' is definately one of the top albums to be released in '07 so far. Some are bound to lack appreciation of this album though, because it is not immediately accessable, and a bit more challanging than previous Air efforts. Reguardless, a stellar album in my book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't sink in Oct. 13 2007
By NovaLamp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I just never really got grabbed by this album. Other than Mer du Japon, the songs were way to atmospheric. Some of Air's songs really grab me, but many don't. Nothing "catchy", but I can tell from the other reviews, many are quite happy with this.
:)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect induced ambiance for a higher plane of thinking March 7 2007
A Kid's Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Its also I really nice chill out album. To be honest, like most AIR CDs, a few tracks seemed effusive -almost cheesy- but after repeated listens they really grew on me. That being said I found 2,3, and 4 to be a little over the top at first. I have found the rest of the album, however, to be incredible from the very first listen.

I have always been impressed that AIR plays alot of their own instruments instead of just sampling everything - and their new introductions of Japanese instruments works wonderfully. Track 10 - Between waking and sleeping is my favorite.

Like another reviewer, I agree that its like Moon Safari. Its an experience that has to be 'ridden' the whole way through. Its less poppy though, more sauve, more introspective - even sexier in a dark hypnothesing kind of way.

Overall a great CD for doing school work, work work, driving, or simply laying back and actively listening.

Highly recommended

4.5/5.0
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