If you were browsing CD racks and looked at 10,000 Hz. Legend without ever having heard of Air, you”d likely mistake it for a full-fledged member of the electronic army. This would be due to the fact that their label is Astralwerks, one of the major players in electronic music, and home to artists such as the Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim. Legend does have a fair amount of synthesizers and computerized doodads, but fails to fit any silicon mold. It is fair to say that Legend is a square album pigeonholed into electronica”s round realm.

Paul Wong
Courtesy of Knopf

10,000 Hz. Legend is a mix of eclectic beats, melodies and Beck. Not meaning that it sounds like Beck, which it does at times, but Beck is actually on the album. He makes an appearance on a couple of tracks, adding to Legend”s already considerable excellence. Air doesn”t use the “take one sample, add one lyric and repeat” formula that most electronic music follows. Instead, they weave thoughtful songs using decidedly non-electronic instruments and sounds, including woodwinds and a harmonica.

This record has good songs all over the freakin” place, and they have interesting titles to boot. “Wonder Milky Bitch” and “Caramel Prisoner” are both excellent in title and content. The lead track is a great mellow song featuring piano and muffled lyrics that puts you in a happy place. “The Vagabond,” with Beck on vocals, also stands out.

One gripe, however, is that it doesn”t ever give you a jolt. There”s no climactic song, nothing to take you over the top. If you”re looking for Air to give you a foot-tapper like “Sexy Boy,” their biggest hit, you”re not going to find it here. Another sorta-kinda-almost bad aspect of Legend is that it could be seen as some sort of goofy, irreverent album. The wacky titles along with the twangs and bongs that characterize some of the tracks might lead you to believe this. Don”t buy into it. This is one great record and is highly recommended. Just don”t expect it to be a party soundtrack. “Cause that it ain”t.

Grade: A-

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