Since "Premiers Symptomes" means "first symptoms," it's appropriate that it's the name of Air's collection of early singles. This French duo created a warm sweep of electronica that sounded like a complete , which is only marred by two funky, rather awkward songs pasted on to the end.
"Modular Mix" kicks it off -- a dreamy song that sounds like the soundtrack for an underwater movie. "Casanova 70" and the languid "Les Professionals" add a lounge-y sound. And "J'Ai Dormi Sous L'Eau" and "Le Soleil Est Près de Moi" are sweet and slow , almost like a pair of trip-hop lullabies.
The rerelease of "Premiers Symptomes" was given a bonus -- two new tracks, "Californie" and "Brakes On." Well, they're a mixed blessing. They're actually very fun songs -- funky, dancey and "Californie" has a stretch of ethereal electronica halfway after about a minute. But they just don't quite mesh with the early work.
"Premiers Symptomes" was compiled of singles released before the hit "Moon Safari," and so it has something of the same dreamy feeling. It's only a half hour long, but it's worth it to get the the romantic blend of ambient, trip-hop, funk and a hint of 60s psychedelic pop -- in a word, sensual chillout music!
Songs like "Modular Mix" have layers upon layers of shimmering keyboard. But "Casanova 70" and "J'ai Dormi Sous L'Eau" favor a more jazzy sound, with synthesized horns behind some twittery synths, while the spacey beats of "Les Professionals" sounds like a rainy morning near an alien city. Beside all these smooth sounds, the brash, bass-heavy extra songs sound harsh to the ear.
"Premiers Symptomes" is a must-have for Air fans (newbies had better start with something else), although the last two tracks aren't quite in sync with the first five. A beautiful experience, smooth and soft and sensual.