Jake’s Jams: Moon Safari

Every other Thursday check out Jake’s Jams to see an album from any era, genre, or artist recommended by Jake Standerfer


Loosely calling a record “elevator music” does not initially project the album as a musical masterpiece. However, the French pop duo AIR brandishes the novelty label with complete domain over their soft sound with their 1998 title Moon Safari. The potential creative limitations of acting under restrictive boundaries imposed through AIR’s style are completely cast aside with groovy noncompliance.

Moon Safari is like a stroll in a park. And that park spans continuously through vast expanses of ticklish space under the comfort of a lounge-like space cruiser. The sound of the album subtly plays upon the intricacies within itself, and the resulting aesthetic is spaced out and steady-flowing. AIR manipulates simplified but unique composition into its own cosmic, oddly commercial design.

Uniformity is held throughout the release. Sweeping synthesizer blasts circulate throughout the sound’s design, only further expanding the scope of the album. However, there is still restraint. Each musical quirk is clearly crafted with clear pretension. Simple acoustic rumbling and soft-sung vocals stand with purpose, holding the album under clear boundaries.

Songs such as “La femme d’argent” bring validity to the frequent classification of Moon Safari as elevator music by steadily strutting their mass with simple piano chords and drawn out vocal drawls. A bit of funkiness is also dispersed within the vibrations of an unpredictable synthesizer. Other tracks dance more along the space-like lines of the album. “Kelly Watch the Stars” not only hints at futurism with fluttering synthesizer chaos, but additionally features robotic singing with intense alien vibes.

AIR deserve most of their acclaim through their ability to work with what they have. Working with minimal layers of composition and somewhat stripped-down ideas, the pair proves that complex composition and immaculately detailed soundscapes are not necessary ingredients in creating musical beauty. True proof of musical genius lies not in what sounds artists can craft with infinite components at their disposal, but instead in what emotions can be strung with minimal composition.