M83
Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts


4.5
superb

Review

by Rationalist USER (50 Reviews)
January 23rd, 2010 | 24 replies | 4,820 views


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts is modern and melodic, calming and fascinating, expansive and minimal; it is a superb album.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

The term electronic music has acquired a negative connotation recently; the same term that is used to describe Aphex Twin is also the term that we use to describe the later works by The Editors. So, with this being said, it would not surprise me if more than a few ignored M83's Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts entirely because of the genre M83 is a part of. However, those who ignore the genre altogether and do listen to Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts will find themselves listening to an epic, intriguing sophomore effort from this (at the time) French duet.

Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts is a force to be reckoned with. Featuring an assortment of noises, distortion and layers of sound are important elements to M83's brand of aural pleasure, and make the band comparable to shoegaze. Tracks like “America” show off the shoegaze similarities as there are several layers of noisy instrumentals that are stacked upon one another. These layers act as a cohesive unit, but are distinguishable from each other. The track uses this “wall-of-sound” technique to its advantage and piques the listener's interest with its unexpected shifts in tempo and its apposite inclusion of samples. “Gone” follows a similar path, but is an improvement over everything the former track had accomplished. That includes the transformation factor that is so important to M83's sound.

“Run Into Flowers” starts out on the wrong foot with its cheesy introduction, but eventually, the song transforms into an epic combination of trance and shoegaze. “Cyborg” transforms in a similar way, but distortion is more evident in the latter track than in the former. On tracks like “Run Into Flowers”, the vocals seem to act as another instrument, and hold just as much importance in terms of melody as the keyboards. The quaint vocal styles allow the album to hold a stronger sense of originality while retaining all of its interesting bits.

These interesting bits are almost always present, from the “wall-of-sound” technique used in “America” to the minimalist nature the album showcases. Several of the tracks here use melodies that revolve around a very small quantity of notes. The fact that such a small quantity of them are used to make the exciting nature of this album is surreal in a way. It makes one wonder how so very few notes can be used to craft consistent songs on this electronic opus.

From the large swells of electronic instruments to the simple noises that litter this album, Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts is a crowning achievement. It is as intriguing as it is calming. Tracks like “Unrecorded” are not forced, and neither are the tracks like “Run Into Flowers” because M83's sound on this release is modern and melodic, calming and fascinating, expansive and minimal; it is a superb album.



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user ratings (336)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Andrew H. EMERITUS (4.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
elephantREVOLUTION
January 23rd 2010



2734 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this album is amazing

Rationalist
January 23rd 2010



880 Comments


Tis.

rasputin
January 23rd 2010



14516 Comments


yeah this album is great

Athom
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2010



17197 Comments


2nd favorite m83 album

Rationalist
January 24th 2010



880 Comments


What's your favorite, Adam? Thanks for pointing out the error of my ways via shoutbox. Can't believe I said Freidrich wrote that.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2010



17197 Comments


Before the Dawn Heals Us is my favorite M83 album. We Own the Sky is my favorite M83 song. This still rules though.

Rationalist
January 24th 2010



880 Comments


I was expecting you to say Saturdays=Youth, as you have a starry young adult in your avatar.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2010



30873 Comments


Just got this based off of your review, goddamn it's good

Digging: FaltyDL - In The Wild

Rationalist
January 24th 2010



880 Comments


I'll assume your speaking about both the review and the album, so to that, I say "thank you."

SeaAnemone
January 24th 2010



19727 Comments


"Lower Your Eyelids..." is my favorite M83 song, I need to hear this though

Digging: Towers - Bel Air Highrise Plantation

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2010



30873 Comments


Was indeed. I was slightly skeptical, the whole 'wall of sound vs. minimal' you described, just because it sounds like it shouldn't go together. But damn good, your review too. Pos'd

Rationalist
January 24th 2010



880 Comments


A comeback from the less-than-desirable ctts review?

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2010



30873 Comments


There was nothing incredibly wrong with it, just some grammar here and there

Rationalist
January 24th 2010



880 Comments


I used corel this time for grammar, so I think it helped,, but would you mind pointing out what and why?

AggravatedYeti
January 24th 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

yeh this album is amazing.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2010



17197 Comments


Finally got around to reading the review and it sounds like you are just trying too hard to write in
a lofty style. The review at times stumbles over itself in your attempts to do things that you just
aren't 100% comfortable with. Sentences like "Featuring an assortment of noises, distortion and
layers of sound are important elements to M83's brand of aural pleasure, and make the band
comparable to shoegaze. Tracks like “America” show off the shoegaze similarities as there are
several layers of noisy instrumentals that are stacked upon one another" really bug me. You
basically restate information verbatim and the two sentences could easily be condensed into one that
reads less awkwardly. I know that you want to sound descriptive and all, but that just comes off as
word vomit and would benefit from a more straightforward approach. For your next review try writing
with the mindset that the only words that should be in your review are be those essential to
getting your point across. If they aren't, get rid of them.

Kiran
Emeritus
January 24th 2010



6000 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i really like this album but whenever i need an m83 fix, i usually go to saturdays=youth.

Digging: Spoon - They Want My Soul

AggravatedYeti
January 24th 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

saturdays=youth is a completely different beast.

Rationalist
January 24th 2010



880 Comments


Adam, this is straightforward for me, but I'm trying to get completely there while retaining my writing style. So thanks for the help. How would, "Tracks like "America" show off the album's shoegaze aspects with its layers of electronic noise." ?

SeaAnemone
January 24th 2010



19727 Comments


^sentence is MUCH clearer. You see, as it may so happen, a surplus of verbiage tends to obfuscate the primary meaning of a sentence (let alone piece of writing as a whole), resulting in confusion from the reader similar to reading the jibberish of a 2nd grader whose parents had neither the intellect nor the wherewithal to properly teach the art of writing.

Sorry, that got a bit out of hand. Basically, Adam is right, try to keep your style (I like it) while trying to use less, more necessary words.



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