"Since "Premiers Symptomes" means "first symptoms," it's appropriate that it's the name of Air's collection of early singles. This French duo created a warm sweep of electronica that sounded like a complete , which is only marred by two funky, rather awkward songs pasted on to the end.
"Modular Mix" kicks it off -- a dreamy song that sounds like the soundtrack for an underwater movie. "Casanova 70" and the languid "Les Professionals" add a lounge-y sound. And "J'Ai Dormi Sous L'Eau" and "Le Soleil Est Près de Moi" are sweet and slow , almost like a pair of trip-hop lullabies.
The rerelease of "Premiers Symptomes" was given a bonus -- two new tracks, "Californie" and "Brakes On." Well, they're a mixed blessing. They're actually very fun songs -- funky, dancey and "Californie" has a stretch of ethereal electronica halfway after about a minute. But they just don't quite mesh with the early work.
"Premiers Symptomes" was compiled of singles released before the hit "Moon Safari," and so it has something of the same dreamy feeling. It's only a half hour long, but it's worth it to get the the romantic blend of ambient, trip-hop, funk and a hint of 60s psychedelic pop -- in a word, sensual chillout music!
Songs like "Modular Mix" have layers upon layers of shimmering keyboard. But "Casanova 70" and "J'ai Dormi Sous L'Eau" favor a more jazzy sound, with synthesized horns behind some twittery synths, while the spacey beats of "Les Professionals" sounds like a rainy morning near an alien city. Beside all these smooth sounds, the brash, bass-heavy extra songs sound harsh to the ear.
"Premiers Symptomes" is a must-have for Air fans (newbies had better start with something else), although the last two tracks aren't quite in sync with the first five. A beautiful experience, smooth and soft and sensual."
Early Air is good Air
littleoldme | Fort Collins, CO United States | 10/31/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After having purchased "Moon Safari" and grown to love the sound, I picked this up in a search for more Air music. I was impressed. The original singles as a whole are at least as good as most of "Moon Safari", and "Le Soleil Est Pres De Moi" is almost as sublime as "Ce Matin La". The rest of it is wonderful, too, especially "Casanova 70" and "Les Professionnels". Unfortunately, the closing two tracks ("Californie" and "Brakes On") destroy the mood of the album. They're simply too jarring and lack any of the charm of the downtempo material. This alone is a one-star deduction for ruining the end of a great EP. But there's still 5 great songs, so it's worth picking up if "Moon Safari" isn't enough Air for you."
This album should be played in all Dutch Coffee Shops!
littleoldme | 11/08/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Very smooth and tranquil textures that embrace your mind right away! Almost brainwashing you to sit down and enjoy a glass of wine and a nice smoke while sitting in your recliner or having a delicate moment with that special someone. This is a must have for those who love the experimental genres of music from all over the world."
Electronic-downtempo music at it's best
A. Urribarri | Panama | 03/31/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"WHAT AN INCREDIBLE ALBUM!!! it's just amazing hearing these singles compilation from AIR, one of my best bands in this genre, the music is so groovy and chill...is excellent to getting relax at work or home or even for a background music for a social gather with friends or even for getting intimate with your couple!!
Very nice ambient music, it's really a jewel, an electronic masterpiece, must get your copy if you're in this kind of electronic music (kinda trip-hop)...these french dudes from AIR really rules!"
Jonathan Ballon | San Francisco, California USA | 02/09/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For years, obsessed fans and collectors clamored for a domestic re-issue of French-duo Air's five-track EP, Premiers Symptomes. In 1999 they got more than they had bargained for. While the original European release pulled together five early Air singles of dreamy consistency, the US release mindlessly tacked on two funky "bonus" tracks that many believe clashed with the original vibe. To settle the controversy, I recommend programming your disc player for only the first five tracks. That way you may better experience Nicolas Godin's and Jean-Benoit Dunckel's lullingly tranquil soundscapes without the jarring wake up call of newcomer closing tracks "Californie" and "Brakes On." Blending the vintage sounds of the Fender Rhodes, Minimoog, and Clavinet, these five separately released singles hang together with a delicious album-like cohesiveness, creating a soul-soothing atmosphere that you will crave at the end of the day. These five singles represent some of the most gorgeously grooving electronica pop in the entire Air discography, clearly holding their own next to anything on the duo's gem-filled full-length debut, 1998's Moon Safari. The music of Air offers a blissful escape from our modern day blues, helping us breathe a bit easier, if only for the duration of a few brilliant tracks...."