Though it's rarely singled out for praise, 2007's Digital Shades Vol. 1 is a Rosetta stone for the two classic M83 albums that followed: Saturdays=Youth and Hurry Up, We're Dreaming. Anthony Gonzalez's love of ambient and shoegaze ran throughout the serene collection of minimal soundscapes like digital waves washing up against a pixelating shoreline.
After spending years creating the grand statements of Junk and the music for Cirque du Soleil's show Volta, M83's Anthony Gonzalez recharged with a pair of more personal projects that arrived in 2019. The first was his equally romantic and unsettling score for Knife + Heart, his brother Yann Gonzalez's late-'70s erotic thriller. The second was DSVII, which appeared more than a decade after his first collection of instrumentals, Digital Shades, Vol.
One could be forgiven for wondering if we'd ever see another entry in Anthony Gonzalez's Digital Shades series. Inaugurated way back in 2007, the original's "Volume One" subtitle has been dangling for over a decade now.
The arrival of DSVII makes it a proper series at last, and while some of us would likely prefer a proper follow-up to 2016's excellent Junk, the good news is that much of this release sounds like it was composed from ideas left over from that album. As such, it sometimes gets lost in the shadow of its predecessor, but ….
This far into his career, we've come to expect a variation of what Gonzalez will deliver during his search to perfect his take on expansive, monumental sound. But even while the project of M83 has dipped in and out of relevancy from film score flops, to the near-perfect Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts, and even 2016's problematic Junk, DSVII serves nothing more than a varied collection of B-sides, some of which shine magnificently whereas a majority disappoint. Gonzalez likely never anticipated the fame that would be attached to his name, at least not to the extent in which it occurred.