Air II, in its own words - "An AIR astronaut smoothly drifting in the orbit of our planet is visiting the different places of our world by the power of his thoughts. Sound is part of his technique, and total relaxation". Air II consists of Travelling Without Moving, which is broken down into Trips 1 - 11. Whilst Trips 1 - 11 are distinctive tracks in their own right, Travelling Without Moving is a consistent flotation tank deep ambience with occasional forays into global sounds and trance. Travelling Without Moving is also, of course, the experience of the faxhead seated in the comfy sofa whilst listening to the evocative headfood of Trips 1 - 11!
Trip 1 - this amazing track entirely takes the listener into orbit away from normal headspace. No beats as such, but drifting, moody soundscapes underpinned by a bowl/gong sound, and later, Namlooks space synth. Deep, spiritual vibes. This all reaches a powerful crescendo of sound towards the end of this 11 minute epic.
Trip 2 - opens with a beautiful, moving, reed-type instrument, which returns again at the end of the track. Pictures are painted of a an ancient eastern city, with sounds of pebbles and water, eastern percussion, and serenity. Wonderful.
Trip 3 - an galloping, overtly eastern style track. Frankly, it's a bit of racket. Thankfully, Namlook, in his wisdom, keeps it short.
Trip 4 - similar in sound to Trip 1, drifting in orbit. A relatively short interlude before....
Trip 5 - classic Namlook space trance. Music Police will pour disdain on this track for its dated sound and style, but those who are able to look past this will find much to enjoy.
Trip 6 - moody meditational vibes with glockenspiel-type sounds.
Trip 7 - more glockenspiel-type sounds, but in a more pleasant mood, for just 59 seconds.
Trip 8 - menacing synths underpinned by eastern rythyms. Darkness. Deserts. Didgeridoo. Travelling Without Moving. Soprano by Elisabeth Michels, in a Silence kind of way.
Trip 9 - curious, pseudo French cafe music? Most odd.
Trip 10 - minimal, moody ambience, strange sounds...
Trip 11 - wonderful, evocative, floating space trance again.
Trips 1 and 2 are simply staggering, and even if the rest of the album doesn't match these two, Air II deserves to be rated as a Fax classic.
(review by AdAckBar1972)
Track II is *absolutely phenomenal*. It has the combination of what sounds like a simple flute and reed (clarinet?) harmony that merges into a unison--sort of like my favorite parts from Tangerine dreams Phaedra and Edgar Froese's Epsilon in Malaysian Pale (sic?). Some of the other parts of Air 2 were a bit distracting: like the voice saying "Traveling without moving" makes me wonder if Pete said it first or Karma De La Luna, in Barramundi's Dream Time Planet sampler--wish I could suspend the internal dialog and just enjoy. Also, my finger starts moving towards the next-track button whenever the speed didgeridoo starts to come on. But, even if I don't ever play Air II again, the track II winds will be echoing in my mind, years from now. Well worth the price.
(review by Warren Stringer)