Wednesday, February 27, 2008

M83 - Digital Shades [Vol. 1]

Label: Gooom
Released: 2007
Style: Ambient

"Regular readers of these pages will no doubt already be all too well aware of our unashamed love for all things shoegaze. We haven't really tried hard to mask our childish glee whenever the names My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive or Ride are mentioned and luckily we have been able to witness something of a renaissance in the sound, what with artists such as Ulrich Schnauss and of course France's M83 updating it for a new generation of listeners. 'Digital Shades' is something of a surprise release from M83, now solely made up of Anthony Gonzalez after former member Nicholas Fromageau left last year. It is (according to what I can find online) the first in a series of releases which are not to be thought of as 'proper' albums, something which becomes evident after only the first few moments of the record. You see, the last M83 album, and the record which made them underground stars 'Before the Dawn Heals Us' was an upbeat, brash affair, something of an electronic reworking on the shoegaze sound but with a poppishness it was impossible to ignore. 'Digital Shades' however is much more low key, the percussion is all but gone and only two tracks feature 'proper' vocals.I would go far enough to say this the album is my favourite from Gonzalez yet, by blending his obvious love of Brian Eno, Tangerine Dream and the Krautrock innovators of the 70s (notably Harmonia and Cluster) he has come up with an album which manages to transcend the influence and become its own animal altogether. A good point of comparison would be ex-Morr Music artist Manual's incredible and subtle ambient album 'The North Shore'. Playing like a film soundtrack or a book from beginning to end, with each track perfectly placed to run fluidly into the next, it is hard to imagine a more peaceful way to spend thirty five minutes, and it's almost enough to make me forget all the traffic roaring outside. This is simply beautiful music, unconcerned with fashion and a faddish desire to sound 'modern', and I hope it achieves the success it deserves. Fans of any of the aforementioned artists should grab this without delay." - Boomkat


1 Waves, Waves, Waves (2:30)
2 Coloring The Void (3:27)
3 Sister (Part 1) (2:15)
4 Strong And Wasted (1:56)
5 My Own Strange Path (3:47)
6 Dancing Mountains (5:05)
7 Sister (Part 2) (2:21)
8 By The Kiss (4:03)
9 Space Fertilizer (1:58)
10 The Highest Journey (8:15)


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