M83
M83


2.5
average

Review

by Marko Polovina USER (90 Reviews)
July 15th, 2009 | 10 replies | 7,745 views


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Strictly speaking Fromageau and Gonzalez manage to make a good electronic record, but the lack of balance, overuse of samples, and general genre indications destroy that.

Nicolas Fromageau and Anthony Gonzalez decided they wanted to make electronic music. So these two Frenchmen partnered up to create what is known presently as M83. Although ‘electronic music’ is a quite broad term, M83 borrow elements from My Bloody Valentine, but really tone it down a notch. Their debut wildly titled M83 is neither ambitious or dreadful. The debut strictly adds electronic rhythms given by consistent synth textures and basic percussion repetitiveness (although the latter may seem terrible it isn’t at all).

As I said before, M83 borrow from previous artists to create their own sound. It is obvious that there are scattered moments of lush, yet simplistic guitar sections that enhance the variety of some songs, clearly being presented in “Night”. There is a hint of progression in some of these songs that is signaled by electronic sequences that are short and dissident within the music, accumulating energy while adding more dramatics.

The atmospheres are triumphant, despite not being overly complicated. The problems start to flesh out on M83 almost immediately. The non-existent vocals throughout the debut are replaced (if there ever were any intention) by faltering samples. Easily understated is the lack of confidence by these two for pursing vocals on some of these tracks. Trying to offset this problem by introducing a distorted, sometimes foreign monologue within the album, which to be fair is a lame excuse and only enhances the void that is ever-present within the album.

It may be the main detriment of the band to incorporate some of their shoegaze elements within most of these tracks that screams for something more. Although the shoegaze style is pulled back quite a bit and isn’t as conventional as one would begin to perceive. They still follow the general “formula” while sheathing their vocal work (samples in this case) with loud instrumentation. This type of problem shows the lack of confidence that the duo have. The atmospheres are gorgeous and anthem-like exuberance, but the direction is lacking substantially.

It seems to be the one major query on this album, why are the samples used so terribly? Each sample that is thrust in M83 are generally underwhelming, but there are some rare instances where they are accurately placed like in “Facing That”; where as previously the music grew stagnant during those samples, yet “Facing That” evolves from the emotion given within the track. The majority of M83 hangs on these samples, sometimes involving a choppy repetitiveness as seen in “She Stands Up”, which isn’t exactly pleasing and irritating to say the least. Thankfully though M83 decide to ramp up the sound and sheath some of these samples into obscurity.

The closer really typifies what M83 are headed towards after their first record. The lullaby-like entry expands into a vast and slow approach composition that lasts 18 minutes (really only 13). 18 minutes (13) of great, uplifting, and as expansive as any song will get on M83’s debut. They enter with the previous elements within their debut, but silently drifting into ambient material that is both pleasant and worthwhile.

The overall indication and feel of this album may make you feel betrayed. For one the atmospheres themselves scream some type of underpinning for vocal work, but are never given that true intention. Providing beautiful moods in every way, yet falling on their faces with the lack of direction and balance. M83’s debut sends a clear message, but in the wrong ways. The tracks that resonate aren’t exactly established correctly and the ones that are just tread a bit too long for everyone’s tastes. If there’s one thing we can take away from M83’s first album then it is that they have a knack for creating entrenched atmospheres that will hold a foundation for their future work as electronica artists.



Recent reviews by this author
Mission of Burma UnsoundClark Iradelphic
Doomtree No KingsJane's Addiction The Great Escape Artist
Gang of Four ContentNine Inch Nails Pretty Hate Machine: 2010 Remaster
user ratings (76)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
astorminheaven (4)
A superb and underrated debut album from the French then-duo of Gonzalez and Fromageau, a cluttered ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
MassiveAttack
July 15th 2009


2688 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

If people are put off by this review and base it on their interest in the band. I say now: disregard it because their next release Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts is leaps and bounds above this one.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
July 15th 2009


17212 Comments


I love Dead Cities and Before the Dawn Heals Us. I didnt know this existed. I guess I wont be picking it up now.

Digging: Inigo Kennedy - Vaudeville

MassiveAttack
July 15th 2009


2688 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Its really OK, I think I'm overly harsh because of those two albums to be honest. Since I can't get those out of my head. I tried to be completely unbiased and tried to form an opinion as if it was their only album. Unfortunately it still has those great atmospheres (a bit more simplistic), but there's really no huge impact or driving force of emotion in them.

Best Tracks: "Night", "Facing That", "I'm Happy, She Said"

Yotimi
July 15th 2009


6491 Comments


How does this compare to Saturdays=Youth? Actually that's the only M83 album I own.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
July 15th 2009


15035 Comments


not great.

i'd say get their albums in reverse order if you already have saturdays=youth

thebhoy
Emeritus
July 15th 2009


4459 Comments


Dead Cities is excellent, I'll probably stay away from this one. Good review.

MassiveAttack
July 15th 2009


2688 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Saturdays=Youth > M83.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 15th 2009


20857 Comments


Review is very good Marko. I think I actually prefer your predominantly negative reviews (ie: in the 2-3 range). They're well-balanced. Wouldn't even mind seeing you review a 1 or 1.5 album.

MassiveAttack
July 15th 2009


2688 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I rarely run into those (thankfully). If its an artist I enjoy and they sorely disappointed me then I'd probably review it lol.

DivinityOfPan
July 14th 2010


85 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nvnvnvnvm



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy