A Look Back At Air's 'Talkie Walkie' Ten Years Later
When the band Air emerged from Versailles, France, in 1998 with their debut album Moon Safari, the group's dreamy sound swept over the music world like a cool summer breeze. From the opening instrumental, "La Femme d'Argent," to the album's appropriately cheeky left field hit, "Sexy Boy," the duo's mιlange of lounge-intensive '60s sounds with the whimsy of fellow countryman Serge Gainsbourg was an immediate hit in hip, dimly-lit bedrooms around the world.
Following Moon Safari, Air released the highly successful film score for Sofia Coppola's gauzy 1999 movie, The Virgin Suicides. The duo's upward trajectory stalled a bit with the release of the experimental 10,000 Hz Legend (2001). Heavy with Daft Punk-like vocoder and a dizzying variety of sounds, the relatively muted response to the record gave the duo a renewed sense of purpose when approaching its' follow-up full-length.
"We were kind of pretentious going into 10,000 Hz Legend," admitted Air's Nicolas Godin during a recent phone call from France to discuss Talkie Walkie, now 10 years old (it was released on Jan. 27, 2004). "We were kind of full of ourselves after Moon Safari, so there was a lot of ambition on [10,000 Hz Legend]. I think we tried too hard with it. So for Talkie Walkie, we didn't have any expectations or particular ambitions. It was just JB and I, no collaborators," he said in regards to the band's other half, Jean-Benoit Dunckel. "We just wanted to make something simple."
Over the course of two interviews, both Godin and Dunckel looked back on Talkie Walkie with palpable fondness, placing it high in their personal rankings of the band's discography. They answered questions honestly and frankly, particularly Dunckel, whose personal recollections of the time bordered on the TMI (more on that later).
Both members agree that Air is taking 2014 off to work on individual projects, including the first solo release from Godin ("all I can say is that it sounds nothing at all like anything I've ever done") and Dunckel releasing the second album by Tomorrow's World, a collaboration with vocalist Lou Hayter) but plan to reconvene for a new Air album and tour in 2015. In the meantime, they're sifting through outtakes and live tracks from the era for a special 10th anniversary Talkie Walkie reissue. Check out the interview here.