- Audio CD (February 24, 2009)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Import
- Label: 101 DISTRIBUTION
- ASIN: B001AI6ZMS
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #668,457 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
No Way Down
CD EP from the Swedish. This release is a delight, combining the immaculate Scando-Pop of Club 8 with the blissful easy listening samples of Jens Lekman, throwing in the best of St. Etienne along the way for good measure. 'Collapsing At Your Doorstep' is a thing to be marveled at, condensing an entire summer's worth of unadulterated joy into a single Pop song, stitched together with rough, grainy plunderphonics and waifish C86-style lead vocals. Six tracks.
Air France use elements of both Balearic and pop to create their sumptuous, sincere fantasy world. In that respect, Air France's No Way Down-- currently import-only outside of Sweden except as 320 kbps mp3s-- is reminiscent of the Avalanches' dazzlingly great Since I Left You, another record that finds wide-eyed delight in silly stuff like truth, beauty, and fun, as well as Jens Lekman's Night Falls Over Kortedala and the Tough Alliance's A New Chance. It imagines an impossibly idyllic place through sounds that probably could never have been performed that way in real life. Though it's been said, many times, many ways: Welcome to paradise. --Marc Hogan - Pitchfork
Top customer reviews
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Comprising just six tracks, the other three have an ever so light Dance feel; "June evenings" (with some airy sounding female), "Collapsing at your doorstep", and the delightful string-swathed "No excuses" (with some spoken French), all three featuring some vocals.
Their style reminds me of french pair Air or Norwegian pair Röyksopp (it seems great electronic music these days is made by duos?). Sparkling and refreshing. Shame it's only 6 songs.
If you like Panda Bear but you're a bit turned off by the oversampling, check this out. Last couple of songs are a little disappointing, but only because the first 4 are so strong.
I'm looking forward to the LP...not sure if it's in the works yet but as far as I know they have 2 EPs.
Most tracks on the album feature voice samples of either women or children, who speak in breathy, airy tones. This gives the music an ethereal, fairytale-like quality that is either melded into a smooth, surreal instrumental soundscape or placed on top of more traditional dance beats with vocal choruses. You think of dancing alone in a far away place, or reaching out with fingertips to touch a world in the distance. Sound samples from nature also set the peaceful, tranquil atmosphere of the album, such as birds chirping. Both sound samples complement each other to give the album natural as well as human dimensions.
No Way Down opens with Maundy Thursday, an instrumental track with a layered atmospheric soundscape that is one of the darker tracks of the album, yet it lays out the musical context of the album with its surrealism and reference to a world beyond the listener's reality. The album progresses with more traditionally-sounding dance and pop tracks which continue to communicate the feel of a fairytale world to the listener; June Evenings opens the album into a world of dance; not heavy dance that pounds incessantly, but the kind of dance that makes you sigh, close your eyes and open yourself up to your imagination. Collapsing at Your doorstep loops the phrase: "Sorta like a dream, isn't it? No - better," a self-reflexive comment of the album itself. No Excuses is one of the catchier tracks here complete with soaring chorus, punctuating human breaths and handclaps and an inserted sample of a conversation in French. Its blatant use of the harp and a soaring chorus is somehow far from cheesy. You take the song's prettiness literally; you don't seem to locate pretentiousness here even though the production elements seem to smell of it. The titular track continues the trend of voice sampling, featuring an ethereal sounding female voice that sometimes sounds childlike as well as sounds of whistling. These voiced samples overlay the traditional drum and bass, giving the pop beat a otherworldly quality that is very calming and refreshing. Finally, the album ends with a wonderful instrumental track Windmill Wedding that samples the sounds of a woman moaning, church bells ringing and even a horse whinnying; this track provoked the kind of mood I like to call `sadly beautiful'. By the end of the album, you feel as if you have been transported into a mysterious pasture.
Air France have done an incredible job with No Way Down, embellishing their electronic sound with sounds of nature and tastefully and effectively creating a fairytale. When you listen to the music as a whole, you think of everything coming together in terms of nature and humanity to create the fantastical. Bear in mind that the album is very `pretty', so don't expect the realistic or gritty; instead expect the idealistic, appreciate it for what it is and prepare to be submerged momentarily into a world of fluff and clouds...