M83

M83

M83

M83

Gooom/Mute

With this reissue of M83’s self-titled debut, avid fans of the French act’s subsequent releases will find a slightly different incarnation of their dreamlike shoegazer/electronic/space-rock. Missing are the brutish, instantly fetching swaths of guitar-led aural theater found on last year’s Before the Dawn Heals Us, as are the dense, heaven-sent passages of 2003’s masterpiece Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts.

What we’re dealt with instead is a duo that’s discovering its sound, tinkering with 808 patterns, toggling the pitch-bend on their synths to give us cooing Air-y melodies and eschewing real vocals for a horde of sampled dialogue. In essence, M83’s cinematic, hypnotic soundscapes that have caused a stir among the indie scene in the last couple of years are supplanted by a primitive take on textural electronica.

The great moments on this release are few and far between, but tracks like “Kelly” draw you in with undulating dub rhythms, vocoded soundbites and keyboards that emulate weeping e-bows. “Violet Tree” twinkles in a sea of nighttime Casio tones, backed by stuttering beats that find kinship with Warp acts like Plaid. M83 even manages a few nods to the dancefloor on ironically-named electro cuts “Sitting” and “Slowly.”

But instead of the incomparable cohesiveness and dramatic flourishes that would dictate their later records, M83’s first outing is a loose, unfocused experiment that will frustrate listeners, but nonetheless hints at the greatness to come. Even though the duo is now cut in half to just Anthony Gonzalez (cohort Nicolas Fromageau split after Dead Cities), M83’s sound today is fully formulated and potent. This debut, on the other hand, is led by baby steps on eggshells.

Mute: www.mute.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Alonso Ruizpalacios
    Alonso Ruizpalacios

    Generoso speaks with director Alonso Ruizpalacios, whose dynamic new feature, A Cop Movie, utilizes a unique and effective hybrid documentary style to examine police corruption in and around Mexico City. A Cop Movie was the winner of the Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution at the 2021 Berlin Film Festival.

  • Sarah McQuaid
    Sarah McQuaid

    The St. Buryan Sessions (Shovel and a Spade Records). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Hearty Har
    Hearty Har

    Radio Astro (BMG). Review by Julius C. Lacking.

  • Junkwraith
    Junkwraith

    A young woman abandons a promising skating career only to be chased by her inner demons.

  • The Slackers / Sic & Mad
    The Slackers / Sic & Mad

    Love I Bring /Cat Prozac (Split 7 inch single on). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
    The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

    An adaptation of a classic horror story safe for little eyes.

  • Nosferatu
    Nosferatu

    A classic horror tale ends up some place weird.

  • Self Taught
    Self Taught

    Over a ten-year period, punk guitar legend Tim Kerr and his wife Beth used thrift store cameras to document self-taught artists environments. Combined with portraits of the creators, Self Taught is a celebration of artistic spirit.

  • New Music Now 002
    New Music Now 002

    In NMN Episode Two, Ink 19’s Pat Greene picks the soothing, balm-like brain of old friend Matt Gorney (The Civic Minded Five, Jazz in the Bible Belt on WPRK, 91.5 FM, Winter Park, Florida) as the two discuss the album Promises, from Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders, and the London Symphony Orchestra.

  • Fun Home
    Fun Home

    A small town funeral director hides a not-so-big secret.

From the Archives