J’accuse Air, J’accuse! Of theft (my French isn’t quite up to ‘theft’ – le robbery?), but more of that in a minute. Moon Safari and the 12″ Kelly Watch the Stars are records I really like. I remember when these records came out in 1998 they sounded like they were from light years away, chic, melodic, cool, sophisticated and having that hard-to-capture quality of sounding new and classic at the same time. They made me want to throw parties for all my fabulously dressed fashion-model friends in my cool architect-designed space-age beach house in the South of France, dancing to this record in the moonlight whilst drinking cocktails from solid diamond glasses, made from liquor that isn’t for sale to common people like you. Sadly it wasn’t to be and here I sit drinking instant coffee and eating biscuits in my mismatched pyjamas with only my cat for company.
I hadn’t played Moon Safari for ages before tonight and I enjoyed it so much. It was given to me on New Year’s Eve 1998 as a present by friends who had come to see the new year in with us, for reasons I won’t go into here 1998 was the worst year of my life and this was a present as gratefully received as it was kindly given. The first side of this LP is an absolute treat, the whooshy space noises (which I can never get enough of), delicate keyboards and (there goes that word again) sophisticated vocals, teamed up with some great pop tunes was just a winner for me – it was like catching a glimpse of some impossibly à la mode French new wave film through an open apartment window. Sumptuous is a good word for it and not one I get to use a lot when describing the rag-tag bag of shouting long hairs that comprise most of my 1537*. I absolutely love the shimmering pop of ‘Kelly watch the Stars’, ‘Sexy Boy’ is another IFS of mine** and the future theme tune of my own TV show and the sultry ‘All I Need’ is brilliant.
The second side is a bit more like a soundtrack to an, as yet, unmade film about implausibly good-looking urban folk with great creative jobs, who never sweat, falling in love in exotic locations – I should hate it really, but with the exception of ‘Remember’ which is a real Vocodered stinky dog of a track, it is all really good. I was particularly taken today with the quietly louche ‘New Star in the Sky’ and the soaring ‘Le Voyage de Penelope’. Good and tasteful things are done to a variety of tasteful and good analogue keyboards throughout this LP and this side in particular. I feel very grown up enjoying this LP, but in a good way, a Moon Safari is clearly a good excursion to go on, although I’m not sure I would want to live there – you get the feeling people would mock your unfashionable trousers behind your back for being awfully ‘last week’.
Kelly Watch the Stars 12″ picked up a while after the fact in August 1999 in some kind of 3 for 2 deal is damn fine also. Featuring a fully extended 8 minute version of the title track with added break-downs, vocodery bits and extra beats it is excellent. The ‘Sex Kino’ remix of ‘Sexy Boy’ is not – they slow it down, add a disturbing piggy-grunt in the mix – alas, not in a good way and generally desecrate one of my favourite Moon Safari moments. The ‘d.Whitaker version’ (sic) of ‘Remember’ is however miles better than the LP version, toned down and orchestral it now fits a lot better into the Air sound wash.
The theft? well, ladies and gentlemen of the jury check out the rather excellent opening track of Moon Safari (carefully not mentioned by me earlier) ‘La Femme D’argent’ and then spin Hawkwind’s ‘Assault and Battery Part 1’ from Warrior on the Edge of Time. The prosecution rests, J’accuse etc etc.
Time to pick the crumbs out of my pyjamas and go to bed. Ho-hum.
*Don’t tell Mrs 1537 but I am actually up to 1573, just got Monks Black Monk Time today.
**Inappropriate Funeral Song – pay attention, I’ve mentioned them before.