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Artist Spotlight: M83

Anthony Gonzalez of M83Genre: Electronica, Ambient, Indietronica, Synthrock, Dream Pop
Similar: Sigur Ros, Explosions In The Sky, LCD Soundsystem
Interesting Fact: M83 got it’s name from the spiral galaxy Messier 83, which is in the constellation Hydra. Consider yourself science’d
Twitter: @M83MUSIC

What It Is
M83 was formed in 2001 by Frenchmen Anthony Gonzalez and Nicolas Fromageau, although Fromageau left the group after their second album. Like most things cool and fashionable, M83 rose in popularity in Europe before making it’s way to America. Whatever, we’re the creators of the Snuggie so suck on that Europe! As you may remember, we featured the track “Midnight City” off their upcoming album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming a couple weeks ago for our Song of the Day.

I found M83 like I did a half dozen other artists during the mid 00’s, car commercials. Pontiac, Lincoln and a few others got a fever and the only prescription was more indietronica-esque music. I can’t seem to find the particular commercial that put me on to M83 but after some googling, I am not even close to the only one that wanted to know more about the awesome song in the Pontiac commercial.

Gonzalez’s first four albums, self-titled M83Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost GhostsBefore the Dawn Heals Us and Digital Shades, Vol.1, are predominately ambient, dream pop, synth type tracks with some light lyrical loops thrown on top. The best way I can describe this is to imagine what your dreams sound like when you’re on LSD. Now I’m not saying that the sound is necessarily trippy and will induce hallucinations but it’s the kind of thing you can put on in the background and let it carry you through the flow of time as you daydream or study for finals. My description of M83’s early stuff as a soundtrack for a drug induced dream holds water as the song “Teen Angst” was used in the trailer of the underrated A Scanner Darkly.  Anyway, here’s the song “Run Into Flowers” off of Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts:

The sound changed with the release of Saturdays = Youth in 2008. More of the tracks have a lyrical focus, which make give it more of a radio friendly sound. Saturdays = Youth also happens to be M83’s most successful and well recieved album as it appears in a handful of charts for top albums of 2008 and even takes the #1 spot for drownedinsound.com and Urban Outfitters by beating out the likes of MGMT, Vampire Weekend and Cut Copy. Urban Outfitter gives the best description of what the album when they say, “Like the soundtrack to your favorite John Hughes film, only better.” Gonzalez states that album is dedicated to his teenage years and since he’s the ripe age of 30, the album might make us 20 somethings yearn for the nostalgic carefree days of our youth.

Look for 20SA to review his new album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming when it drops on October 18th.

What I Have To Say
M83’s music is fun and soothing. You can listen to some tracks while you’re sleeping and others when you’re running. Why would you want to voluntarily run is beyond me but to each his own I guess. It’s the kind of music that you can lose yourself in for a few hours and it often leaves you with an overwhelming sense of calmness. Perhaps most importantly, your cultural cred will go through the roof when you tell all your friends you listen to a French musician (although all his lyrics are in English). If you’re the kind of person that likes to be a trendsetter, it’s still not too late to jump on the M83 train before his new album drops, as it might be the next cool thing to listen to like MGMT and Vampire Weekend.

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Posted by on August 22nd 2011