What I like most about instrumental music is that there’s nobody putting words into my head (a bit obvious, I know). Specifically, I’m able to get lost in my own thoughts instead of someone else’s.
When it comes to Air France’s all-too-brief On Trade Winds EP, I don’t get too fancy. There’s no use trying to over-think its intent when two of the four tracks are titled “Karibien” and “Beach Party” (mp3), and that’s perfectly fine for me. There’s no state of mind I like better than one in which the glow of a sunset warms every inch of the inside of my skull.
The group manages a sound that’s beat-heavy and light-headed at the same time, making those contradictory phrases coalesce nicely. This is white-sand techno music, the type of stuff you can shake your ass to while trying not to spill the contents of your margarita.
The creatively-titled “Introduction” begins with a bass-and-bongo mix that attracts a soothing vocal, strong pulse, and twinkle before a few soft bursts and a steward (literally) welcome you from your flight. You’ve landed in paradise. “Karibien” is strong out of the gate, the album’s most danceable track, while “Beach Party” is the breezy next-morning comedown. A flittery marimba and harmonium weave Tropicana-style, and the group cops Lisa Stansfield way better than Biggie did.
The final track, “Never Content” is all bouncy, upbeat piano and finger snaps, as a coed duet sing in harmony and trumpet the end of your trip. Their tone is wistful but content. Like any therapeutic vacation, On Trade Winds is over way before you’d like, but Air France forego saying “goodbye” in favor of “see you later.” Believe me, you’ll be back.