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.
- 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
- May bore some listeners after a while
- Songs can sometimes drag
On A White Lake, Near A Green Mountain
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.