The French duo AIR gained inclusion into the late-'90s electronica surge due chiefly to the labels their recordings appeared on, not the actual music they produced. Though Nicolas Godin and Jean-BenoÃ®t Dunckel both grew up in Versailles, the two didn't meet until they began studying at the same college. Dunckel, who had studied at the Conservatoire in Paris, played in an alternative band named Orange. One of Dunckel's bandmates, Alex Gopher, introduced Godin into the lineup - while Gopher himself departed.
Their sound, a variant of the classic disco sound coaxed into a relaxing Prozac vision of the late '70s, looked back to a variety of phenomena from the period - synthesizer maestros Tomita, Jean-Michel Jarre, and Vangelis, new wave music, and obscure Italian film soundtracks.
Air released their debut album, Moon Safari, in early 1998. Their early singles were collected in 1999 under the title Premiers Symptomes; the duo's soundtrack to the Sofia Coppola film The Virgin Suicides followed in early 2000. Air's second studio effort, 10,000 Hz Legend, appeared in spring 2001 with a subsequent tour of the U.S., but critics and fans alike didn't appreciate the darker, more experimental direction. They bridged the gap between the pop of Moon Safari and the experimentalism of 10,000 Hz Legend with their 2004 release Talkie Walkie.
Along with touring in support of that album, the pair remained busy making music in 2005 and 2006: they collaborated, along with Pulp's Jarvis Cocker and the Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon, on Charlotte Gainsbourg's album 5:55. Cocker and Hannon also appeared on Air's fourth album, Pocket Symphony, which was released in early 2007. Their next album released in 2009 titled, Love 2, which marked Air's first self-produced work and featured a more streamlined sound than some of their previous music. Dunckel and Godin went in a very different direction for their next album, which was based on an original score they created for the 1902 classic silent film Le Voyage Dans la Lune. The pair created the score in less than a month, working with collaborators such as Au Revoir Simone and Beach House's Victoria LeGrand, then expanded it into a full-length album that was released early in 2012.