M83 | DSVII | Mute
Release Date: 20 September, 2019
Feature Image: Anthony Gonzalez (sourced via Facebook, photographer unnamed)
Wandering within a new world; a striking bold adventure ensues as landscapes sing vivid colour in a fantasy dream. Our hero boasts an infallible courage; brandishing weapons in an enemy plight – traversing the alien realms, swirling winds of illusion summoning the dragons breath. Fire sparking danger in civilian casualties, combined strength; adventure gleams in the eyes of these strange worlds. The glimmer of extraterrestrial forests cradle kings and queens, glimmering fey; otherworldly creatures darting amongst the trees. Treasure shimmers, dark worlds loom and the light breaks, the light overcomes – the phantasmagoria of a hero’s journey.
Without much need for introduction, electronic band M83, the brainchild of French musician Anthony Gonzalez – has been an iconic figure when it comes to the world of dreamy electronica, as well as experimenting with a myriad of sounds and atmospheres; from synth-based electronica, to classic 80s inspired hits – crushing post-rock and swirling dream-pop for almost two decades. Returning with their eighth LP ‘DSVII’, amongst an array of singles, soundtracks and EPs; ‘DSVII’ serves as a sequel to their 2007 album ‘Digital Shades Vol. 1’ (with DSVII referring to Digital Shades Vol. 2’) boasting a conceptual traverse into the world of 80’s inspired high fantasy realm; with accompanying film trilogy directed by French director Bertrand Mandico.
Opening in lyrical keys, singing mysticism in a strange land; ‘Feelings’ sings the uplift of a melody, curious in a glittering aura of a fantasy realm. Approaching caution, entering a new world; keys singing harmony within the alien flora, the hypnosis of emotive woodwind lulling listeners into a mystical trance. Dancing amongst the swirling melodies, choral voices sprout in an angelic choir, singing otherworldly. Enthusiasm cradles the mesmer of an outspoken synth in crescendo, video game bliss swallowing explorers whole as the track reaches a climactic finale.
‘Lune De Fiel’ greets listeners in a foreboding ambience; an animated synth breaking through in an eagerness for adventure – the embrace of melody hints at an underlying anxiety in moments of minor key progression. Driving the track forward in the euphoria of 80s inspired electronica, self-assured percussion weaves amongst the alien traverse. The overwhelm of electronic textural dance sculpts the mirage of high fantasy; as the game continues, the difficulty increases as the hero continues forward on their journey.
The closing track of the album ‘Temple of Sorrow’ stands as the heroes final destination, the last level; ready to face whatever may come, with bravery and with vigor; opening in the slow embrace of ambience and a gentle heartbeat, they wander within; ghostly electronics singing in a tender glory, a relief, engulfed in the fantastical realm – a sense of the unreal, a reflection of a dreamlike dangerous journey; filled with monsters and allies, honeyed in the nostalgia of growth and courage as the characters reach the conclusion of their journey. Lively synths dance in the glow of ultimate achievement, angelic voices in loving celebration as the soundscape sculpts layers upon layers of an epic crescendo; departing in kindness, revelling in the light of a new world.
With images springing to mind of Dungeons & Dragons, otherworldly album covers by power metal bands from the 80’s, retro science fiction flicks, Heavy Metal comic books, 8-bit video games, pixel art and voracious heroes with unflinching bravery saving the world from evil; ‘DSVII’ glitters with a powerful, coherent narrative. An adventure for each listener as they progress through the bold, vivid landscapes – ‘DSVII‘ serves as a fantastical journey through M83’s forever distinct auditory style.
Words by Jenna Dreisenstock