Air is a music duo from Versailles, France, consisting of Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel.
Air's debut EP, Premiers Symptômes, was followed by the critically acclaimed album Moon Safari, the re-release of Premiers Symptômes, The Virgin Suicides score, and subsequently albums 10 000 Hz Legend, Everybody Hertz, Talkie Walkie, Pocket Symphony, Love 2, and Le Voyage Dans La Lune.
Nicolas Godin studied architecture at the École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Versailles whereas Jean-Benoît Dunckel studied mathematics before forming a band in 1995. Before founding Air, Dunckel and Godin played together in the band Orange, with others such as Alex Gopher, Xavier Jamaux and Jean de Reydellet. The former two have subsequently contributed to remixes of tracks recorded by Air.
Initially Nicholas Godin was alone. He recorded a demo with members of Funkadelic as his backing band before releasing his first entirely solo effort 'Modular Mix', which featured production by Étienne de Crécy.
Air's music is often referred to as electronica; their form of electronic music was influenced by the synthesizer sounds of the 1970s such as Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis, and Francis Lai. Other influences include psychedelic rock pioneers Pink Floyd; film composer Ennio Morricone; krautrockers Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk; early pioneers of the eurodance electronica subgenre Space; Jean-Jacques Perrey and Claude Perraudin (although there are some echoes of dance music styles in the production); French crooner Serge Gainsbourg (Histoire de Melody Nelson, for example); and soft rock duo The Carpenters (Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft, originally by Klaatu for example).
Air use many of their studio instruments (like Moog synthesizers, the Korg MS-20, Wurlitzer and Vocoder) live on stage, where their ability to improvise is more clearly highlighted. The band performs the well-known tracks from the albums live as extended or altered versions. Air often works together, both in the studio and live on stage, with artists like Beth Hirsch (Moon Safari), Françoise Hardy ("Jeanne"), Jean-Jacques Perrey ("Cosmic Bird"), Gordon Tracks ("Playground Love" and "Easy Going Woman" - Gordon Tracks is a pseudonym of the French singer Thomas Mars from Phoenix), Beck (10 000 Hz Legend), on the 2004 tour with Dave Palmer and on the 2007 tour with drummer Earl Harvin, Vincent Taurelle and Steve Jones.