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Electronic - Released October 11, 2019 | NCLS

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Electronic - Released January 24, 2020 | NCLS

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Looking back on his career with and without Air, Nicolas Godin's beginnings as an architecture student become more and more apparent -- and not just because the first song he created, "Modulor Mix," was a tribute to Le Corbusier. A skilled use of structure and space is just as important to composing music as designing a building, and the weightless drift of his music is as much of a feat as a skyscraper that seems to defy gravity. Much like an architect, over the years Godin has built on his music's foundations while continuing to innovate. If Contrepoint's dazzling fusion of classical, jazz, Tropicalia, exotica, and left-field pop and the flawless '60s spy music homage of his Au Service de la France (A Very Secret Service) score felt like reactions to the iconic sound he crafted with Air, then Concrete and Glass is a welcome return to it. As its name suggests, Godin's second solo album is ultra-sleek and airy, in both senses of the word. With its vocodered vocals, spacey electronics, and a melody that flirts with several moods -- romance, loneliness, nostalgia -- without settling on any of them, "What Makes Me Think About You" harks all the way back to Moon Safari's "Remember." "The Border," an homage to Mies van der Rohe, recalls the spacious, late-night moods of Pocket Symphony. Godin even includes some of the whimsy that prevented his previous project from seeming too pretentious with "Turn Right Turn Left," a sci-fi pop duet with a route-finding app that makes navigating Los Angeles sound blissful. However, Concrete and Glass isn't a rehash of Air's music. It's often more streamlined, as on "Time on My Hands," a sculptural track featuring impassioned vocals by Kirin J Callinan. Godin's other collaborators also help distinguish the album from his prior work. Kadhja Bonet's elegant turn on "We Forgot Love" makes it easy to envision her singing it alone in a gorgeous but empty penthouse. Another highlight is "Catch Yourself Falling," a poppy collaboration with Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor that sounds so natural, it's surprising that he and Godin haven't worked together before. Though the closest Godin comes to the excitement of Contrepoint is the jazzy, suite-like finale "Cité Radieuse," Concrete and Glass is still a fine example of his distinctively smooth style. © Heather Phares /TiVo


Nicolas Godin in the magazine