Twenty years have passed since the sultry downtempo electronica of Air first glided across the bedrooms of young lovers in France and beyond. Nowadays, ‘Moon Safari’ and the ‘Virgin Suicides’ soundtrack are practically canonical records for when the lights go down and rightly revered as modern classics.

In some ways Nicolas Godin and bandmate Jean-Benoît Dunckel have darted around those albums’ elegant shadows ever since; albums like ‘Talkie Walkie’ put a new spin on the seductive dreaminess of those earlier releases without quite bettering them. For his first solo outing, Godin has continued down the path established by Air on ‘Le Voyage Dans La Lune’ – the pair’s imagined soundtrack to Georges Méliès’ 1902 silent picture of the same name – in the sense that he’s used the work of another artist as the basis for his own compositions. This time, Godin’s muse is Johann Sebastian Bach, as channelled by legendary Canadian pianist Glenn Gould.

Each of the eight tracks on ‘Contrepoint’ sees Godin use one of Bach’s melodies as a starting point before pivoting into something truly gorgeous, whether that be a sensuous bossa nova shuffle (‘Clara’), a jazzy instrumental (‘Club Nine’) or a bombastic outright mini-symphony (‘Widerstehe doch der Sünde’). For sure, the concept behind ‘Contrepoint’ is wilfully high-minded but in Godin’s hands, the result matches brains with breathtaking beauty.


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