Though his name alone might not immediately ring a bell, Nicolas Godin is partly responsible for ushering in the rise of downtempo electronic music. Through his electronica duo Air, Godin and his bandmate Jean-Benoît Dunckel made waves with their 1998 debut, Moon Safari, which has influenced countless electronic artists who’ve followed.
In recent years, Godin has begun pursuing a solo career, releasing a Bach-inspired debut, Contrepoint, and a soundtrack to the French series A Very Secret Service. Now, Godin has announced another record out in January, titled Concrete and Glass. The news comes with a funky new single, “The Foundation,” featuring vocals from Cola Boyy. It’s the second track to be released off the record, following last month’s “The Border,” which sounds more ambient in comparison.
Staying true to the laid-back atmosphere Air were so adept at conjuring, “The Foundation” opens with a pronounced bass line that sits wonderfully in the pocket of the seductive rhythm the soft kit sets. The scene is set for Cola Boyy’s relaxed vocals, laying out quirky lines like, “Unexpected responsibility / Of building a roof right over your lover’s head.” The track stays true to the groove throughout, which never seems to grow stale through its runtime.
Godin explains how the inspiration for the single came from, of all places, a piece of architecture:
Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House #21 was the starting point for this song. Well, at least that’s how I presented the music to its future singer, Cola Boyy. I told him about the project’s architectural origins, explaining that he must let his own personal inspiration run free for the lyrics. I always thought that a concept was always the perfect way to start a record, but then you should soon let the music take over. A good record is one in which the music seizes control pretty fast. I’ve applied this rule to each album I’ve been lucky enough to record, with only one mantra: “It’s the music that decides.” This song is the perfect example of this.
The entirety of Concrete and Glass, in fact, takes its inspiration from the three-dimensional art of architecture, which can be seen peppered across shots for the sci-fi music video for “The Foundation.” The beginning of the video explains that humanity’s final hope rests with a space cadet who’s been training to chase an audio transmission into the depths of space. The short-haired female cadet, with a permanent look of determination on her face, trains under her wisened advisor. She learns about space flight, swims laps under the geometric architecture of an indoor pool and studies a growing plant. Finally, she’s ready. Adorned in her retro spacesuit, she takes off and lands on a new world, stopping to admire an orange sunset, Luke Skywalker on Tatooine-style.
The video’s director Greg Barnes explains how the track left a cosmic impression on him and the subsequent video:
The synth-led, ethereal momentum of the track felt so out-of-this-world and intrepid all at once—the concept of mankind exploring space fell into place almost immediately, and the excitement of creating a sci-fi visual for the song stayed with me throughout the whole process.
Concrete and Glass is set to be released Jan. 24, 2020, on Because Music and can be preordered here. You can watch the video for “The Foundation” below and find the album details further down.
Concrete and Glass Album Art:
Concrete and Glass Tracklist:
01. Concrete and Glass
02. Back To Your Heart ft. Kate NV
03. We Forgot Love ft. Kadjha Bonet
04. What Makes Me Think About You
05. Time On My Hands ft. Kirin J Callinan
06. The Foundation ft. Cola Boyy
07. Catch Yourself Falling ft. Alexis Taylor
08. The Border
09. Turn Right Turn Left
10. Cité Radieuse