M83
Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts


4.5
superb

Review

by Andrew H. EMERITUS
January 16th, 2005 | 82 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist


M83 are a duo from France who create interesting electronic music, often sounding simultaniously like Sigur Ros, Aphex Twin and My Bloody Valentine. In 2000, at just 20 years old, the two French lads decided to quit playing guitar music and to make music that was different. Their name comes from the name of a distant galaxy and the group's sound often reflects this.

The group released their first album in 2001 on the Gooom label at just 21 years old. "Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts" was released in very late December 2003 (the 23rd). The album had only been finished earlier in the month. Critics often compare the group to bands such as My Bloody Valentine and Mogwai. The group say that until they read the comparisons to My Bloody Valentine, they had never even heard the band.

The best way to describe the group's sound is the background walls of noise heard in My Bloody Valentine, mixed with beautiful keyboard melodies heard in bands such as Sigur Ros, with early Aphex Twin sounds thrown into the mix. While in the studio, the two guys simply add layers of keyboard on top of each other until they can get a sound that they like. What results is a sound that at first sounds extremely messy but after a few listens sounds great. Many of the songs sound quite similar, there is not much diversity on this record. However, the band are able to constantly create beautiful soundscapes that paint a picture in the listener's mind. The group use next to nothing but keyboards to get their sounds which is quite an acheivement. The few tracks that have vocals make use of the voice very well, using it as just another instrument (an approach used by other bands such as Sigur Ros and My Bloody Valentine). Although the vocal tracks are nice, it's the instrumental tracks where M83 really shine.

Their sound is very spacey and often makes the listener think that they are listening to the radio on an alien spaceship. The tracks "Be Wild" and "Cyborg" are great examples. The first of the two sounds like it is a song that aliens would be playing in bars or clubs. The second sounds like a soundtrack to an alien walking down the street to school. For the first half, anyway...by halfway through the song, the track has evolved into an epic with string sounds and heavy distorted guitar sounds. There is often changes in tempo and mood on the album to make the album not all sound the same. But at the same time, it seems to flow.

M83 are great at making upbeat songs to nod your head and grove along to. However, the soundscapes and beautiful ambient tracks with simple but incredible melodies are the tracks where they really shine. Tracks such as "Unrecorded" are extremely fun and great songs. However, the songs on the record that stick out as being incredible are songs such as "Gone". These songs have incredible melodies, often consisting of less than 5 or 6 different notes. If there were any more, the song would be ruined. The person who says that electronic music is soulless needs to hear M83.

Pros
- Interesting songs with different surprises every time
- M83 can build up songs to from just a light piano riff to full blown epics
- Lots of good tracks to bop along to
- Great "chillout" music

Cons
- May bore some listeners after a while
- Songs can sometimes drag

Standout Tracks
On A White Lake, Near A Green Mountain
Gone
Beauties Can Die

Every song off this album can be heard at good quality on M83's website; [url]www.ilovem83.com[/url]. It also happens to be one of the coolest website designs for a band ever.



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user ratings (346)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Rationalist (4.5)
Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts is modern and melodic, calming and fascinating, expansive and ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Tangy zizzle
November 20th 2004


253 Comments


Good review.

I may check it out.

Scott Herren
November 20th 2004


192 Comments


I recommend "Run Into Flowers"

Happymeal
November 20th 2004


330 Comments


Hmm.. curious. Good review

Well_Respected_Man
November 20th 2004


75 Comments


Your review has got me quite interested, great job. Just one quick question though, is most of the sound consisting of just spacy analog synths and no drums? Electronic drums always bother me but I love synths so I'm checking this out.

Edit: Wow this website is confusing :confused:

br3ad_man
Emeritus
November 20th 2004


2125 Comments


The drums sound pretty real but I think they are electronic.

Well_Respected_Man
November 20th 2004


75 Comments


[QUOTE=br3ad_man]The drums sound pretty real but I think they are electronic.[/QUOTE]
That's good, as of now this reminds me alot of Black Moth Super Rainbow.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
November 20th 2004


2125 Comments


If anyone is confused with the website (I was too at first), once it loads, type "New Album" and then type in which song you want to listen to. Dont type track numbers though, just the song title.

Well_Respected_Man
November 20th 2004


75 Comments


Someone on slsk had a really fast connection so I just downloaded the whole album.

"Run Into Flowers" was kinda cheesy at first and then it got really cool during the last two minutes. It's growing on me :thumb:

Scott Herren
November 21st 2004


192 Comments


I think December 2003 was for the re-released version because I had mine prior to that and it doesn't have "Beauties Can Die" on it. :upset: I may have to download that one.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
November 21st 2004


2125 Comments


That's like the second best song on it!

allmusic said that the album was recorded December 3 2003 or something close to that :confused:

Iris
November 21st 2004


1 Comments


I was actually just given an MP3 of this band today, it wasn't a song from this CD but it was good nonetheless.

Good review.

Scott Herren
November 21st 2004


192 Comments


Yeah, there have been several different releases. There was a re-release this year of it that has a bonus cd too.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
November 21st 2004


2125 Comments


Ah I see.

Bartender
Emeritus
November 21st 2004


826 Comments


Sounds interesting. I'll give it a listen at some point.

Dark Hero
November 21st 2004


160 Comments


That's the worst band website ever! Great review though :thumb:

ToolBox
August 8th 2005


26 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I really love M83 ever since I read this review I bought this album and listened to a few off the other. Great review!

br3ad_man
Emeritus
August 8th 2005


2125 Comments


Thanks bud. Check out the new album, Before The Dawn Heals Us. I've reviewed that as well.

whatwasthatfor
March 23rd 2007


4 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i think 'noise' and 'gone' have to be my favourites off this.
brilliant album start to finish.

Upsidedown_and_Sideways
May 18th 2007


264 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

'Gone' is completely awesome.

Slaapkamers
May 18th 2007


596 Comments


best m83 album.



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