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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Swedish Duo Brings Summer to Solyanka

Air FranceThe duo from Sweden will add some summery energy to the long winter.��
It's fitting that a week after Maslenitsa, which marks the beginning of spring, Moscow is treated to the appearance of Sweden's Air France. The duo will play a DJ set Sunday night at Solyanka that should herald the arrival of longer, warmer days.

Joel Karlsson and Henrik Markstedt, who hail from Swedish pop-music capital Gothenburg, have created an enormous buzz in Europe and North America for last year's "No Way Down" EP, which uses lush string samples, Afro-Caribbean percussion and airy guitar lines to channel the vibe of a summertime dance party on the shore, a far cry from the Swedish winter that mirrors our own here in Russia.

"I think it's because [winter in Sweden] is so dark -- we want to escape that feeling," said Markstedt on the eve of their first trip to Russia. "We have half a year of darkness and then half a year of light, so in the winter people long for summer. That's what we're trying to convey in our songs, that longing."

Critics have noted the similarity between the Gothenburg scene, which includes The Tough Alliance and Jens Lekman, and the Balearic dance-music craze born in Ibiza, Spain, in the late 1980s and brought back to England by house DJs Paul Oakenfold and friends. And while all these groups share sunny pop hooks and 80s synth sounds, what sets Air France apart is how their songs unfold from unassuming intros into soaring, winter-defying choruses.

"We write songs about things we don't really know anything about, in the soundscapes, I mean ... everything you would expect that is Swedish, we want to do the opposite and take a route no one has gone before," said Markstedt.

Performances of their own songs are rare -- Air France has attempted to play such a concert only once, as it's difficult to reproduce the layers of melody and rhythm found on "No Way Down."

"I think it's because we have a lot of samples and strings and a million different elements in our songs," Markstedt said. "And we're only two people, so I think to play live we'd have to get a 12-man orchestra. ... We may have to end up remixing our own songs so we can do sort of like a DJ set with our songs ... more a feel of a party than a concert."

Air France play Solyanka at 10 p.m. Sun., March 8. 11 Ulitsa Solyanka, Metro Kitai-Gorod. 221-7557. Entry is 500 rubles.