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26 June 2024

Air’s JB Dunckel To Release His First Ballet Score, ‘Möbius Morphosis’

JB Dunckel Ballet Soundtrack
'Mobius Morphosis' artwork/image by Catherine Zeller
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JB Dunckel, co-founder of the iconic French band Air, has written and recorded his first-ever ballet score, Möbius Morphosis, a monumental work blending electronics, percussion and mixed choir.

The soundtrack will be released digitally on Warner Classics (in co-production with Radio France, La Maîtrise de Radio France and Prototyp Recording) on 19 July, with a limited-edition transparent vinyl LP released on 9 August.

The ballet was commissioned as part of Paris’s Cultural Olympiad in collaboration with renowned choreographer Rachid Ouramdane (Director of Chaillot – National Theatre of Dance) and Compagnie XY. Möbius Morphosis brings together over 100 acrobats, dancers, and choir members on stage, with choreography inspired by the phenomenon of large, spontaneous gatherings in the animal kingdom – such as murmurations of birds, or shoals of fish. The world premiere takes place at the Festival des Nuits de Fourvière on 2 July.

Composer JB Dunckel said of the soundtrack: “This music is first and foremost at the service of a choreography whose boldness, acrobatic grace and energy won me over straight away. The choir of Maitrise de Radio France amplified the scope of the work above my expectations. From the moment I started composing, I brought my very personal formula of percussion, pure voices and powerful electronics to the process… The vocal harmonies are characterised by a certain exalted dramatic tension, sometimes desperate, sometimes glorious.”

On his own and with groups such as Air, Starwalker, and Tomorrow’s World, Jean-Benoît Dunckel is a mastermind of stylish, sensual, and ethereal pop. Before becoming a professional musician, he studied maths and physics and played in the band Orange, which also counted Nicolas Godin among its members. Once Orange disbanded, Dunckel and Godin formed Air in 1995 and the duo soon earned acclaim for 1998’s debut album Moon Safari and the soundtrack to Sofia Coppola’s 2000 film The Virgin Suicides.

While he and Godin worked with Charlotte Gainsbourg on her 2005 album 5:55, Dunckel embarked on a solo career, choosing the moniker Darkel as a twist on his surname, which means “dark” in German. Darkel’s self-titled 2006 album shared the hazy atmosphere and lush synth passages as his Air work but also explored Dunckel’s fondness for more straightforward pop and rock.

When Air went on hiatus following 2012’s Le Voyage Dans la Lune, Dunckel founded the sci-fi pop act Tomorrow’s World with New Young Pony Club’s Lou Hayter, and Starwalker, a duo with Bang Gang’s Bardi Johannsson. He also returned to Darkel with 2015’s Man of Sorrow EP and composed the soundtrack for the film The Summer of Sangailé.

In 2016, Air reunited for a tour supporting the career retrospective Twentyears. In 2018, Dunckel released H+, his first album under his own name, followed by the original score for the movie Summer of 85 in 2020, and the album Carbon in 2022. In 2023 and 2024, Dunckel composed two original film scores for The Good Teacher and For Night Will Come. Also in 2024, Dunckel released his first solo piano album Paranormal Musicality on Warner Classics.

Möbius Morphosis features the following tracks:

  1. Corps échangés
  2. Ballade des Géants
  3. Gravité Reconstruite
  4. Combats et Périls
  5. Cœur Volant
  6. Clair-Obscur
  7. Dieu Léger
  8. Poids Céleste

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