Parisian duo Air are no strangers to film soundtracks—they’ve recorded some seriously beautiful music for Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation and Marie Antoinette. But their latest project, Le Voyage Dans La Lune—streaming now at NPR—is the granddaddy of film soundtracks.
First off: Did you see Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-nominated 3D film Hugo? Well, it’s about the early-20th century filmmaker Georges Méliès, the mind behind ahead-of-its-time classics like Le Voyage Dans La Lune (translated to A Trip to the Moon). A long-lost hand-tinted color version of that 11-minute short film was recently discovered after 109 years lost to obscurity, then restored and premiered at Cannes in 2011. In the early 1900s, a live band would play musical accompaniment to the film in theatres. So, a new contemporary soundtrack was needed. Enter Air.
Air was bestowed the honor of sound tracking the film—a cornerstone of both French and film history, really—and their inclusion is a natural fit. The film is about a group of Parisians who travel to the moon, and as any longtime fans knows, Air love the moon. Their debut LP was called Moon Safari and their music is space-y and ethereal, perfect for a moon walk. “I’m obsessed with the moon,” Air’s Nicolas Godin told me for a recent story I penned for Nylon magazine.
Air tapped Beach House singer Victoria Legrand and all-girl keyboard trio Au Revoir Simone to lend vocals to the project, and the band was so inspired by the 11-minute work they produced for Le Voyage Dans La Lune that they continued on, expanding the work into a full-length album. And—voila!—we now have Le Voyage Dans La Lune, the album, which shows a new sound for Air with its natural instrumentation and lack of electronics. Check out the album at NPR, then go pick up the DVD of the new color version of the film. Watch a teaser clip below.