Air release Moon Safari 25th anniversary edition - and its as joyous as it ever was

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Back in the late 90s, an unknown French electronic music duo crafted a perfect chill-out pop album that muscled its way into my heart – and stayed there.

That duo was Air and the album was Moon Safari, the band’s classic debut, littered with sparkling gems and soundscapes which catapulted us all into a strange and mystical world of blissed out anthems and fascinating noise.

Now there’s a 25th anniversary edition which packages the original album with a second disc of rarities, demos and remixes and even a Blu Ray disc which remasters 1998 documentary film Eating, Sleeping, Waiting and Playing.

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And while I played the album to death on its original release, the intervening years and life in general getting in the way have meant full sit down listens have been far and far between.

Air have released a 25th anniversary edition of Moon Safari.Air have released a 25th anniversary edition of Moon Safari.
Air have released a 25th anniversary edition of Moon Safari.

But as the opening notes of La Femme D’Argent kicked in, I was transported right back to 1998 and those late nights with Moon Safari gently playing in the background.

Sexy Boy, All I Need, Kelly Watch The Stars all sound as stunning and sparkling as they ever did – and its a real delight to hear a few obscurities picked out of the band’s archives too.

The deluxe audio-video package, released via Parlophone/ Warner Music, comes ahead of the duo playing their widely celebrated album in its entirety for the first time across Europe this year.

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All dates on the original tour sold out in record time and given the exceptional demand for tickets, Air have now added further dates to their touring schedule for late spring and into the summer including a night at the Royal Albert Hall in London on May 30 and key appearances across Europe, including a headline show at legendary electronic music festival Sonar in Barcelona.

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The album re-issue (a deluxe 2CD/Blu Ray Audio-Video) includes a Spatial Dolby Atmos audio version of the original album along with super rare or previously unreleased tracks as well as Mike Mills’ 1998 documentary film ‘Eating, Sleeping, Waiting & Playing’ filmed during the band’s first ever worldwide tour and more.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary last year, the release of Moon Safari catapulted Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel to the uppermost rung of electronic music’s ladder and left an indelible imprint on pop culture at the end of the 20th Century.

Despite being young 20-somethings at the time and having only released one EP to date, Godin and Dunckel’s stars aligned and together they were blessed with the creative skill to make the perfect electronic pop songs. These two students of astrophysics and architecture set about creating their own universe with the confidence and pedigree of seasoned pros.

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Today, the record’s legacy is canonical, but at the time of release, its multi-million success was far from assured.

Says Dunckel: “We were a duo doing some electronic thing, dreaming of selling 10,000 copies and being recognised by other musicians as cool. Then suddenly, we met the world.” In no time at all, Air’s downtempo influence was easy to detect all around.

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Through Moon Safari, Air’s music infiltrated and transfixed some of the great visionaries of the late 20th century - David Bowie, Madonna, Beck - as well as influencing preeminent aesthetes of the incoming age - including Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kevin Parker and Sofia Coppola, whose creative relationship with Air became as synergetic as that of Angelo Badalamenti and David Lynch.

Moon Safari birthed a string of hit singles, sold millions of copies around the world, and pushed Air into headline status at major festivals.

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25 years on, it’s not hard to reason why Moon Safari has stood the test of time. It’s a mood you want to live inside of forever. It’s a revelation. It’s conversation pit music for a better future.

Dunckel sums up his own album as “a deep, universal spell, full of love and mystery.”

“To me,” Godin concludes, “Moon Safari is perfect.” And who can argue.

Essential listening. Go rediscover the love all over again.

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