Beginner’s guide to Air

The Versailles-based duo have always been a little bit bonkers and extremely inventive. If you include their side projects and solo albums, they seem to have been able to push out a new and innovative release every year since about 1995. Take the right route through their back catalogue, and you are guaranteed a string of wonderful and joyful releases.

Key moments

Their breakthrough Sexy Boy (1998) got all the acclaim it deserved, as did follow-up Kelly Watch the Stars. Later releases such as Playground Love (2000) and Radio #1 (2001) got less attention but were every bit as good. Whether doing soundtracks to groundbreaking silent films or devising surprising collaborations, they never seem to stop their brilliance.

Where to start

Moon Safari (1998). Buy the 2008 deluxe edition, which includes a bonus disc of Remixes, Rarities and Radio Sessions and the tour documentary DVD Eating, Sleeping, Waiting and Playing.

What to buy

After Moon Safari, get to know their early years with the compilation Premiers Symptômes (1997), then Talkie Walkie (2004) and Pocket Symphony (2007) for their more mature works and collaborations with Jarvis Cocker.

Don’t bother with

10 000 Hz Legend (2001) – unless you really like Beck – or City Reading (2003).

Hidden treasure

Jeanne, the 1998 b-side to Sexy Boy featuring Françoise Hardy on vocals, and Adrian Sherwood‘s remix of How Does it Make You Feel? on the 2002 remix album Everybody Hertz.

For stowaways