Premiers Symptomes



by Apocalyptic Raids USER (7 Reviews)
June 23rd, 2007 | 12 replies

Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Premiers Symptomes is yet another release from this French duo that is worth looking into for any fans, but it's definitely not their best work either.

Premiers Symptomes is a collection of Air's earliest singles, released between 1995 and 1997. The version I'm reviewing is a re-release that appeared in 1999, with two extra bonus tracks.

Premiers Symptomes is an excellent snapshot of Air's development as artists. Originally released in 1997, a year before Air's critically acclaimed breakthrough Moon Safari, it shows Jean-Benoit Dunckel and Nicolas Godin's roots of relaxed, atmospheric songs without most of the Pop stylings that are present on the majority of Air's future albums. It also shows what you could consider to be the "bare bones" of Air's songs, with drum machines and a multitude of synthesizers being present, but not a whole lot else. On Premiers Symptomes you won’t be finding the frequent vocals, acoustic guitars or even Shamisens that you can find littered throughout the rest of Air's catalogue. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes it feels as if the songs could do with spicing up.

Modular Mix, Casanova 70 and J'Ai Dormi Sous L'Eau are an example of this, and while they aren't bad songs, they last for nearly 6 minutes each which by Air's standards is quite long, and it really feels as if a little more action in the instrumentation region could have done these songs a world of good. Thankfully things pick up with Les Professionnels (which is essentially an early, more extended version of Moon Safari's All I Need). It rectifies these faults by shortening the duration and spicing things up with some upbeat, varied keyboards leading the way on top of a classic Air bassline and guitar part which even the most casual of Air fans should recognise quite easily.

Along with Les Professionnels, Le Soleil Est Pres de Moi is probably the other highlight of this brief EP. It's one of the slowest, most laid back Air tracks I've heard, and with its relaxed horns and vocals is an excellent way to end the proceedings. However, since I'm listening to the re-release I have two bonus tracks tacked on the end to sit through which in classic bonus track form, don't fit in with the mood of the rest of the record at all. Californie isn't a bad song really, and actually contains some quite nice piano parts, but Brakes On however is an up beat, repetitive and rather annoying song that sticks out like a sore thumb among the rest of Premiers Symptomes' mid-paced and atmospheric songs. At least the bonus tracks are at the end of the record, so I can just turn it off instead of sitting through one and a half songs I don't particularly care about.

While Premiers Symptomes is not without its flaws, overall it's an enjoyable release that most Air fans will enjoy on some level, but personally I'd look into Moon Safari, Talkie Walkie, The Virgin Suicides and Pocket Symphony before considering this one.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
June 23rd 2007


Great review. Haha, I remember when you were a big metalhead not too long ago.

La Revolucion
June 23rd 2007


Thank god someone is actually using the site to expand their music taste.

Apocalyptic Raids
June 23rd 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

Great review. Haha, I remember when you were a big metalhead not too long ago.

Haha, yeah. I burnt out on the stuff big time.

June 24th 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

One of their worst, which says a lot.

June 24th 2007


This is a good review because it wastes no time. Talkie Walkie makes this look amateur.

Liberi Fatali
June 24th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

Personally I think this is one of their best, even if just for Le Soleil Est Pres De Moi.

June 24th 2007


Listening to Air's music makes me wanna smack someone in the face, preferrably Nicolas Godin and/or JB Dunckel.

June 29th 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

I take it back, second worst.

Forgot about 10,000 Hz Legend, and Everybody Hertz totally doesn't count.

Apocalyptic Raids
July 1st 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

Everybody Hertz is the only Air release I've yet to hear.

Can't say I'm in a hurry.

July 26th 2007


I wouldn't want to hear this, either. Maybe if I hadn't heard their other stuff I would have enjoyed it, but I'm spoilt by Moon Safari and Talkie Walkie now. From what you say, I get the feeling I'd be bored by this.

Good review though. It didn't need to be any longer

January 5th 2009


Album Rating: 4.5

^^ No you wouldnt. Modular Mix could be the hottest thing Air has ever done. This is prolly my favorite Air record, next to Virgin Suicides and Moon Safari of course.

Contributing Reviewer
June 28th 2016


Album Rating: 3.5

There's some serious gems here.

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