Thursday, January 12, 2012

Air//Moon Rock

Air: Moon Rock on
French ambient electronica band Air impart a cosmic touch to the newly restored color edition of George Méliès’ iconic 1902 film Le Voyage dans la Lune (A Trip to the Moon). Technically innovative at the time, Méliès’ masterpiece pioneered the use of trompe l’oeil objects, papier-mâché props and double-exposure to tell the first science fiction tale in cinema. The story sees astronomer Professeur Barbenfouillis, played by Méliès, fire himself and six colleagues to the moon, explore caverns beneath the surface and escape from the indigenous insectoid Selenites. The color reel, hand-painted by Méliès, was discovered in 1993 by the Spanish film archive La Filmoteca de Catalunya and took almost two decades to restore. Unveiled at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and due for release on DVD this coming February, the new print’s kaleidoscopic palette highlights the movie’s hallucinatory aspects—something Air wanted to match with their soundtrack. “We wanted to give a very surrealistic touch to the movie,” says the group’s Jean-Benoît Dunckel. “Music has to make you leave the Earth.” The Versailles-born musicians, who previously soundtracked Sofia Coppola’s directorial debut The Virgin Suicides, composed an entire album inspired by the film, eliciting vocal contributions from Au Revoir Simone and Victoria Legrand of Beach House. “When the people talk [in the film] we decided to use animal sounds,” explains bandmate Nicolas Godin. “We wanted to do the opposite of Walt Disney. He takes animals and makes them speak with human voices. We have farm noises and elephants.”

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