One of the most celebrated French acts, M83, is back with a new album but it may not be exactly what you’re expecting. Front man Anthony Gonzalez and his crew are known for putting on an amazing show and being a little outside the box. Their songs are consistently revered by other artists and constantly remixed, even helping the likes of Kygo burst onto the scene. They’ve released full studio albums with multiple vocalists, huge bands, and rocking tracks like “Midnight City,” “Reunion,” and “OK Pal.” Those albums have also included more complex, touching masterpieces like “Wait” and “We Own the Sky.”
Their creativity, which sometimes can turn bizarre quite quickly, has encouraged artists around the world to be more authentic and not care what people might think – just go for it. Even if it’s a song that sounds like the chronicles of an acid trip (a personal favorite). Rewinding past the aforementioned hits we’ve come to know and love to the distant land of 2007, some may remember a very experimental and lesser-known production from Gonzalez, DSVI (Digital Shades Vol. 1). The album barely had any vocals and was very ambient. There was a hint of this direction in some of their early remixes, but this blew the door open for their range of projects.
Over ten years later in the present, Gonzalez has released the second installment of Digital Shades. The inspiration for DSVII comes from the sounds and feelings provoked from 80’s video games. It follows the same rules as DSVI: almost no vocals (or none in this case) and ambient sounds. Listening to it, if you close your eyes you can almost see a Galaga machine or early Final Fantasy games on a screen in front of you. The album truly encapsulates and gives depth to the sounds of those games.
Three of the tracks from DSVII, “Temple of Sorrow,” “Lune De Fiel,” and “Feelings,” were also used in a short-form video series by experimental film director Bertrand Mandico entitled Extazus. Each song has its own video, all of which are a crazy trip into an alternative world, where a hellish writer describes his new ideas, giving life to characters from far-away galaxies. Definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but a fitting experiment for M83. Enjoy!