Since I just caught Martin Scorsese's Hugo, which incorporates magician-turned-director Georges Méliès, news about Air's upcoming record arrived at the perfect time. It's titled Le Voyage dans la Lune after Méliès' most famous film, i.e. A Trip to the Moon (the label sent the press release the day after the movie opened).
In Hugo, Scorsese doesn't just recreate portions of Le Voyage (in 3D, no less), but he also recreates the making of this 1902 landmark. For a motion picture adapted from a young adult novel (The Invention of Hugo Cabret) and intended for family viewing, Hugo is a more richly rewarding enterprise than I would've expected. If Air's album is even half as good, it should be worth the wait.
While I'll admit that it's been awhile since I've picked up an Air recording, I remain fond of their haunting score for Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides, another period adaptation, so I have a good feeling about Le Voyage dans la Lune.
(I should also mention that I'm a big fan of musician/graphic artist/filmmaker Mike Mills [Butter 08, Thumbsucker, Beginners], Air's go-to director for years now. You can sample his work on YouTube or, better yet, in the 10th anniversary deluxe edition of Moon Safari, which includes the key videos, plus a documentary.)
Full press release, plus Hugo trailer and Méliès' film, below. H/t: Steven Fried
Le Voyage dans la Lune is a classic black & white silent film by revered French director Georges Méliès. Released in 1902, this legendary 16-minute film is widely considered one of the most important works in film history, and the very first to use science fiction as its theme, incorporating special effects that were very state-of-the-art at the turn of the 19th century. It was loosely based on two popular novels of the time: Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon and H. G. Wells' The First Men in the Moon.
A hand-colored print, the only one known to survive, was rediscovered in 1993 by the Filmoteca de Catalunya. It was in a state of almost total decomposition, and many years of painstaking, manual restoration took place until 2010, when digital technology finally came to the rescue. Following another year at the Technicolor Lab of Los Angeles, it was finally ready to share with the world. Eager to put a contemporary spin on this classic silent film, the producers decided to approach AIR's Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckel, to compose an original modern soundtrack, an enormous honor for French musicians, considering the film's place in the canon of French cinema.
Spurred on by their work on this short movie, AIR decided to develop the project into a full album inspired by the film. Expanding the original musical themes beyond cinematic instrumentals, the album also features the vocal talents and lyrics of Au Revoir Simone and Victoria Legrand (Beach House). The band's lunar fascinations have been evident since the beginning of their career with the release of the seminal 1998 classic Moon Safari. Now in 2012 Nicolas and J.B. have returned to explore the further regions of their very unique musical "space."
A special 3-minute extract of the film will be made available FREE for one week only on iTunes on December 6th. And on that same date, the AIR album pre-order will start including a STRICTLY LIMITED EDITION digital box set featuring the album and the newly colorized, restored film featuring AIR's original score.
Track listing:1. Astronomic Club, 2. Seven Stars (with Victoria Legrand), 3. Retour sur Terre, 4. Parade, 5. Moon Fever, 6. Sonic Armada, 7. Who Am I Now? (with Au Revoir Simone), 8. Décollage, 9. Cosmic Trip, 10. Homme Lune, 11. Lava.
Virgin releases Le Voyage dans la Lune on 2/7/12 in the US and Canada.