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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > May-18 > AIR MOON SAFARI AIR


A stunning debut that took a long time to assemble, the serene beauty of Air’s first album highlighted the versatile strengths of the French duo. It’s a record that merged deep synthesis, live instrumentation and layered arrangements to build one of the finest records of the ’90s. 20 years on, it’s high time we studied the making of Moon Safari…


Nicolas Godin (left) and Jean-Benoît Dunckel head out on Safari
© Getty Images

Moon Safari – it’s a record that even today, seems to be everywhere. If you don’t own it, you’ll at least be familiar with its songs. From the dark swagger of the still-ubiquitous Sexy Boy, the laid back cruise of opener La Femme D’Argent and the record’s all-out-classic All I Need, the tracks on Air’s debut album have, over the last 20 years, seeped into the aural landscape of popular culture.

Hailing from Versailles in Paris, architecture student Nicolas Godin and mathematics student Jean-Benoît Dunckel first met when a mutual friend introduced Godin to Dunckel’s band, Orange. Godin, however, was already a keen musician in his own right. The two found they had similar musical views and aspirations and, before long, Air (an acronym for Amour, Imagination, Rêve – Love, Imagination, Dream) was born. An EP, Premieres Symptomes, offered an early (if rougher) indicator of what lay ahead for the pair sonically…

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Imagine some of those iconic cinematic scenes without the music. The scintillating establishing scenes of Blade Runner’s futuristic Los Angeles, Elliot and E.T. soaring past the full moon on their flying bicycle or Luke Skywalker staring up at the twin suns of Tatooine. In our cover feature this month, we present the complete guide to the process from a professional standpoint, with industry advice and even step-by-step guides to try some of the unique creative processes yourself. In addition to our main feature, we also speak with in-demand composer Junkie XL about his work on top-tier blockbusters and commemorate the 20th anniversary of Air’s Moon Safari in this month’s Recording Spotlight. Our expanded tutorial section now (once again!) covers Pro Tools, as well as our usual range of reviews, tips and the second part of our Essential Guide To Plug-In Effects. We hope you enjoy the issue…