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Pocket Symphony

53 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 6, 2007
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$8.97
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$8.97 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 2 left in stock. Sold by MEGA Media and Fulfilled by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Pocket Symphony + Talkie Walkie [Vinyl] + 10,000 Hz Legend [Vinyl]
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From the creators of the classic albums "Moon Safari" and "Talkie Walkie", Air deliver a career masterpiece, their most seductive and accomplished work to date.

Features guest vocals by Jarvis Cocker and Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy).

Includes the single "Once Upon A Time".

Amazon.com

Some bands like to thwart expectations, and Air is one of them. "Spacemaker," the opening of Pocket Symphony, sounds like a cousin to their instrumental retro-lounge "La Femme D'Argent" from 1998's Moon Safari, right down to the electric bass break in the middle. But this isn't a return to their breakthrough sound. "Spacemaker" really does pave the way for an almost classically somnolent outing from the French duo. Air once proclaimed, "In any classical song you can take five seconds of it and make a loop and you make a great pop song with it." I think they took that to heart on an album that echoes Debussy, Bach, and Reich, but which also contains a Beatlesque eclecticism redolent of Revolver. But instead of the Beatles' Indian flourishes, Air look to Japan, using a plucked koto on a couple of tracks, but also a zen garden sense of sonic placement. Although Jarvis Cocker from Pulp and Neil Hannon of Divine Comedy sing on a couple of tunes--adding some emotional gravitas--Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckel do most of the vocalizing in their preternatural Munchkins-on-Quaaludes lisp. Air are known for their chilled melancholy, but the mood of Pocket Symphony is introspectively somber. Only "Mer du Japon" rises to a groove, while the rest recline in a luxurious torpor. That mood works especially well on instrumentals like the minimalist cycles of "Night Sight" and the Enoesque "Lost Message," with its circular piano line and ice-sheathed string synthesizers. Pocket Symphony won't yield any pop hits, but it could be the soundtrack to endless rainy afternoons. --John Diliberto

1. Space Maker
2. Once Upon A Time
3. Hell Of A Party
4. Napalm Love
5. Mayfair Song
6. Left Bank
7. Photograph
8. Mer du Japon
9. Lost Message
10. Somewhere Between Waking And Sleeping
11. Redhead Girl
12. Night Sight

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 6, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Astralwerks
  • ASIN: B000KGGEUE
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,789 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Manny Hernandez HALL OF FAME on March 22, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I am happy with "Pocket Symphony". With their 2007 comeback album, the French duo has managed to combine their sound from "Talkie Walkie" with their earlier work, yielding an album that has a crisp electronic sound hovering lush ambient soundscapes in the best Air style ever.

Now, I must admit the first listen to it didn't quite sink in, and there are still (after numerous listens) tracks that I don't enjoy too much ("One Hell of a Party" and "Napalm Love" being the top two). But the rest of the album has so many GREAT moments that it is bound to offer listeners music for the ages. The opening and closing tracks are two such cases, which are among the best music to come out in 2007.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Paul Allaer TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 4, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Ever since Air's instant-classic debut album, 1998's "Moon Safari", the French duo has sought to try and follow up to and meet that high standard. Their output since then has divided the fan base. I, for one, absolutely love the often-maligned 2001's "10,000 Hz Legend" album, but was disappointed with 2004's "Talkie Walkie" album. Now comes the new album.

"Pocket Symphony" (12 tracks, 48 min.) is as atmospheric as Air will get while not making a movie soundtrack. The instrumental opener "Space Maker" sets the stage. First single (in the UK--can you imagine Air getting a single released in the US?) "Once Upon a Time" is a beautiful dreamscape. Jarvis Cocker is the vocalist on "One Hell of a Party", which reminds me almost of cabaret-style music. Another instrumental "Mayfair Song" flowes into "Left Bank", bringing the duo back home. "Mer du Japon" ironically enough does not feature some of the Japanese sounds found on several other tracks here (such as the beautiful "Somewhere between Waking and Sleeping" and "Redhead Girl"), and in fact I find this song to be somehwat out of whack with the rest of the album. The instrumental closer "Night Shift" is the perfect ending to this album.

Is this album as good as "Moon Safari"? No, but Air may never be that good again, who knows. That said, "Pocket Symphony" is a fine album, which I have been enjoying ever since its release a few months ago. I happen to catch Air at Coachella in late April, and due to technical difficulties they only put on a brief set, which was very disappointing. I'd love to see them again in concert in better circumstances.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Avernus on April 11, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Air have definately taken a new direction with their latest release, 'Pocket Symphonies'. Abandoning the more 'lounge/pop' feel for a more lush and vibrant form of ambient/pop, 'Pocket Symphonies' is a soothing and totally captivating piece of work.

It does take a few listens to fully appreciate this one.. First you have to get use to the new vibe, then you have to listen to the album in its entirety to understand its low-key focus. This album is very minimalistic, focusing heavily on atmosphere and less on the pop tunes that formulated older albums. Most ambient albums tend to wander off into obscure territory, but Air keep everything relatively short and too the point; though nothing is too short, or too direct. There is just enough variety to keep you captivated, and enough soothing melody to keep your eyes closed and your brain completely tranquilized.

This is an absolutely stellar album to meditate, read, do homework, drive or just relax to. 'Pocket Symphonies' is definately one of the top albums to be released in '07 so far. Some are bound to lack appreciation of this album though, because it is not immediately accessable, and a bit more challanging than previous Air efforts. Reguardless, a stellar album in my book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 16, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Air can be relied on to stick to a signature sound -- lush and dreamlike -- and still be able to wedge in a bit of new material.

In the case of "Pocket Symphony," they stick pretty much to the same formula as their previous release, "Talkie Walkie" -- sweet, slightly symphonic electropop that sounds like something to dream to Yeah, same ol'. Yet somehow that does't interfere with the enjoyability of this pretty, satiny music.

It opens with a hollow tapping and a soft acoustic riff melted into a piano melody. By the time the soft waves of synth kick in, the little melody is quietly hypnotic, as it expands into a shimmering little piano-synth epic... only to coil back up into its piano melody and hollow drumming.

That's "Space Maker," and it's only the warmup for the remaining songs. Air trips softly through a series of songs that are mainly gentle electropop, but with a few classical flourishes sprinkled throughout it. Piano, strings and a bit of horn all make their way into the music.

And they manage a few odd twists, which break the music out of its somnolent sound, and keep it from sounding monotonous -- rippling piano laced with twinkly synth, twisty synthpop, glitchy balladry, and an acoustic ballad or two with some soft keyboard. They even have the spare, twangy Asian-inspired sound of "One Hell of a Party."

Basically, "Pocket Symphony" has Air's trademark sound, which hasn't change substantially since the less soothing electronics of "10,000hz Legend," but they can spice it up with some unexpected twists and new sounds. Not a huge surprise, but very beautiful and soothing nonetheless.

The music itself is a shimmering weave of instrumentation and synth.
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why is this disc enhanced?
I heard they're using some kind of new technology on this disc called OPENDISC. I don't know what that means exactly. I'm a big fan of theirs and will be buying this disc.
Feb 26, 2007 by Denim |  See all 6 posts
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