Music for Museum
The Vinyl Factory
Air’s first music since 2012 is the vinyl-only limited edition album, Music for Museum. It’s a set of chilled, ambient washes – and if that album title instantly has you thinking of Eno’s ambient albums from the 1970s the content within completes that picture. Reverse Bubble has shades too of Eno’s Shutov Assembly as quiet, gently synth quirks roll into place, a hint of a tune always bubbling about inside the soundscape. Opener, Land Me, is a gorgeous field of sound, it opens as if a sunflower, hints of Jimmy LaValle’s Tristeza and Album Leaf material, also some of the ghostliness within James Blackshaw’s material. A placid choral work it’s one of Air’s mini masterpieces, it deserves to stand with the duo’s finest work.
These are all pieces that softly, slowly curl into shape, that gentle coaxing and unfolding – for some a paint-drying soundtrack, for others a world in and of itself. Certainly a reminder of the power of Air’s discreet intensity, Angel Palace like the digital-world cousin to Eno and Budd’s The Plateaux of Mirror.
When a slight trace of tempo, a hint of pulse appears the album is already halfway through, Art Tatoo references Radio-Activity-era Kraftwerk before the short drone piece, Vulcano Kiss.
Soft siren songs (Integration Desintegration) mingle with brooding hip-hop/Kraftwerk feels (Ocotgum) and the closing North Cloud has some of the industrial-as-ambient shape of a later-period Aphex Twin work.
Big swirls of colour are stretched out from an intentionally limited palette – it’s Air’s museum/soundscape/installation soundtrack. And it’s as good as anything they’ve done. All the more exciting for its exclusivity.