Le voyage dans la lune (A Trip To The Moon) is a classic black & white and color (hand-painted) 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. The color version, considered as lost during several decades, is then found in 1993 in Spain, however in desperate condition. In 2010, a complete restoration could be launched, in order to enable the audience to rediscover this major cinema work.
Eager to put a contemporary spin on this classic silent film and enable access to new audience, the two foundations acting in cinema preservation, Fondation Groupama Gan and Fondation Technicolor, decided to approach AIR’s Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckel, to compose an original modern soundtrack, an enormous honour for French musicians, considering the film’s place in the canon of French cinema. With the aim of premiering at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, AIR set themselves a tight deadline, locking their studio doors and working around the clock to serve these classic images with brave new sounds. Complete with a new soundtrack by AIR, the film debuted at Cannes on May 11, 2011, to immediate and unanimous acclaim.
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 JB have returned to explore the further regions of their very unique musical ‘space’. Nicolas explains: “A Trip to the Moon is undoubtedly more organic than most of our past projects. We wanted it to sound ‘handmade,’ knocked together’, a bit like Méliès’ special effects. Everything is played live … like Méliès’ film, our soundtrack is nourished by living art.”
The 3 producers of the restored version have agreed to let Virgin release a special Limited Edition version of AIR album Le voyage dans la lune. This will consist of the album + a bonus DVD or Digital Download of the restored colorized film with AIR’s original film score, strictly limited to 70,000 global copies.
Air: Scoring A Cinematic Marvel, 100 Years Later (NPR)
Trip out on the moon (New York Post)
Air’s ‘Parade’ Set To ‘Excursion To The Moon’ (Huffington Post)
Video Premiere: Air – “Clair de Terre” (Paste)
GQ&A: Air (GQ)
Music Monday: 15 Albums to Look Forward to in Early 2012 (TIME)