Release Date: Oct 18, 2011
Record label: Mute
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Electronic, Ambient Pop
For his sixth album, Anthony Gonzalez delivers a double CD about the unconscious, a mix of beat-driven anthems and gauzy ambience that moves like a restless night's sleep. When it's not luring you to the dance floor with thrilling 1980s pop, M83's widescreen music either sounds like a lost John Hughes movie ("Soon, My Friend," with its sweeping sunset synths, needs Molly Ringwald complaining over it) or gets trippy – check out "Raconte-Moi Une Histoire," where a little girl recounts a dreamy tale of frogs and gender-switching parents. Listen to "Midnight City": Related• Random Notes, Rock's Hottest Photos .
Anthony Gonzalez is a human synthesizer. Whether he’s crafting songs inspired by My Bloody Valentine (Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts), Vangelis, ’90s shoegaze (Before the Dawn Heals Us) or John Hughes movies (Saturdays=Youth), he does so with a sense of agency unparalleled amongst other indie musicians. Tracing his decade-plus career finds the Los Angeles-via-Antibes artist tackling a steady ascent to pop stardom.
Late last year, Anthony Gonzalez announced his next album was almost complete and would be "very, very, very epic. " With all due respect, consider the redundancy of that statement: Since 2003 breakthrough Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts, every new and increasingly colossal M83 studio record has led to widespread crowdsourcing of synonyms for "epic. " What exactly was he promising other than simply another album? Well, throughout the past decade, the 30-year old Gonzalez has honored the tremendous impact of growing up during the golden age of CD buying by implicitly serving as a patron saint for those who treat the weekly trip to the record store as a pilgrimage and still covet the album as a physical proposition: His output always comes stylishly packaged, with cover art worth obsessing over and credits that need to be scoured in order to spot the guest appearances.
Review Summary: Anthony Gonzalez may be a dreamer, but he's not the only one.There’s a point a little more than a fourth of the way into Anthony Gonzalez’ latest art-pop manifesto where it all starts to make sense. The day-glo synths, the cavalcade of gated drums and chintzy keyboards, the near-slavish devotion to ‘80s pop tropes – it’s not just flattery, not merely a homage meant to evoke the sounds of the past that 2008’s Saturdays=Youth satisfactorily accomplished. It’s fitting that it’s not Gonzalez who lays out Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’s mission, but a young child.
Anthony Gonzalez has been to this place before, but he was different then. For 2005's Before The Dawn Heals Us, the newly solo mastermind of M83 went big. It was his first album without former collaborator Nicholas Fromageau and it marked a big move away from the blaring shoegaze of their previous efforts toward gigantic synths and stadium-size drums.
For some, the needle of inspiration seems to be dropped in a particular era of their lives. Like filmmaker John Hughes, or author Maurice Sendak before him, 30-year-old Anthony Gonzalez seems perpetually obsessed with his childhood. For his sixth full-length, the French musician (with help from producer/Beck bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen) returned to the fertile fields that inspired his 2008 breakthrough, Saturdays=Youth.
M83 play Lee’s Palace on November 18. See listing. Rating: NNNN Considering Anthony Gonzalez's tendency toward oversized melodrama and unfiltered ambition, it's not a shock to see his M83 release a double album. More surprising is that it's taken this long.. With a band this reliant on big ….
M83 has forged a career from a broadstroked smudging of nostalgic instincts and time-brightened memories of childhood. Since he and former partner Nicolas Fromageau split after the second M83 album, Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts, Anthony Gonzalez has turned increasingly inward, producing ever-widening and overblown sonic symphonies in ode to the freshness and creative spontaneity of youth. Often categorized as a revisionist of the fresh-eyed '80s dramedies of John Hughes, Gonzalez has always been quite open about the often absurd grandiosity of his music; he pairs his music's horizon-spun synths and shoegaze guitar froth with press statements about how, for example, his newest album is a "retrospective of myself.
You won’t hear another album this year that opens the way M83’s new one, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, does. From the start of its first track, appropriately titled “Intro,” it feels like you’re listening to the Eno/Lanois-produced grave and ethereal ambience that starts off U2’s “Where The Streets Have No Name” — that is, until hard, trademark M83 synths establish their presence. Soon, a highly distorted and digitized female voice enters to accompany the synths, whispering: “We didn’t need a story/ We didn’t need a real world/ We just had to keep walking/ And we became the stories/ We became the places/ We were the light and the deserts and the faraway worlds/ We were you before you even existed.
M83's lush, expansive sound already made their albums feel twice as big as they were, so an actual double album from Anthony Gonzalez and company was inevitable. However, on Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, he doesn’t use that extra space to top the widescreen nostalgia of Saturdays = Youth; instead, he fills it with songs that cover more sounds and moods than any of M83's previous work, resulting in a collection of impressionistic moments rather than a grand statement. The album begins with two songs that reaffirm Gonzalez's flair for the unapologetically epic music that makes him a rarity among artists in the 2010s, electronic or otherwise.
M83 is known for being epic, something double albums are almost always trying to be. M83 albums always sound huge and expansive, and if anyone can effectively use the oft-bloated double album platform effectively it’s him. Anthony Gonzales, the man behind the music, made the wise choice to make it a double album that could’ve fit on one disc. It doesn’t necessarily require the extra space, but it certainly deserves it.
M83‘s Anthony Gonzalez has finally accomplished what too many recent artists have attempted multiple times. He’s made a pure pop record for the bedroom floor. The twist? He wasn’t even in a bedroom when he carved it out. While speaking with Pitchfork on the new LP, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, Gonzalez explained, “I feel like an old guy saying this, but nowadays everything is made in a bedroom on a computer.
Maybe Anthony Gonzalez is just working his way back through the years, one album at a time. On his 2005 breakout as M83, Before the Dawn Heals Us, he took the shoegaze guitars of My Bloody Valentine—taken to their peak on the band’s 1991 classic, Loveless—and combined them with cinematic electronics with sci-fi trappings. For 2008’s Saturdays = Youth, Gonzalez turned his space-loving disposition toward the John Hughes 1980s and all its synth-heavy jams.
In the 1970s, rock stars began to be dubbed dinosaurs not only because they were aging into previously unimagined ranges (over 30), but also because their every move seemed to shake the earth’s alignment. It wasn’t enough for their audiences to be massive or their shows to be pyrotechnic; the albums had to sound expensive, each a production involving a rotating timeclock of sound engineers and creative directors. Eventually, the era of Electric Light Orchestra, Yes, and Pink Floyd was dethroned because their blockbuster albums were seen as the sonic equivalent of a Versailles—unbridled opulence and pretention by a crowned royalty, one far too distanced from the realities of the oil crisis and the working class malaise that had once been at the root of rock to make anything palatable to their constituencies.
[i]On ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux[/i] (One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye). Not our words, but that of a clever fox in Le Petit Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s profound children’s book. The book ….
Never shy of delivering an electro cri de coeur where a simple chord progression will do, Anthony "M83" Gonzalez fully indulges his fondness for the grand gesture on his sixth record. Tsunami-like washes of retro synths, saxophone solos and melancholic vocals clamour for attention during this double concept album, which blends familiar M83 influences (shoegaze, goth pop) and stretches them to the size of the Californian desert where it was recorded. Gonzalez's commitment to excess can get a little wearying – even the meditative "Splendor" enlists a choir to ramp up the emotion – but the road-movie rush of highlights of "Midnight City" is hard to beat.
In the post-YouTube world of everything-all-the-time access to popular culture, the concept of 'cool' is all but redundant. Sometimes this is A Good Thing, especially now that we need not bore ourselves with questions along the lines of whether it’s Ok to like Abba. It is a truth almost as universally acknowledged – except possibly in France itself – that the French never gave a camel’s arse for the rest of the world’s definition of cool.
Historically, each new M83 album has outdone its predecessor by such leaps and bounds that the band's musical evolution has seemed almost Darwinian. Successive releases retain the strengths of their forebears, but rarely any of the weaknesses, standing more upright and refined, with crude textures slowly polished away from their strict shoegaze formulas and into pop-rock nuance. From the prehistoric, chintzy synth hammering of the bedroom experiment Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts to the full-on John Hughes and Kate Bush paean opera of Saturdays=Youth, M83 braintrust Anthony Gonzalez has consistently leveled a critical eye at his work: “I've never really been that proud of Saturdays=Youth, if I'm honest,” Gonzalez recently told Drowned in Sound, perhaps revealing a glimpse into the psyche of a never-satisfied auteur.
M83's Hurry Up We're Dreaming soundtracks an escape from the current gloom, a means of avoiding the endless barrage of headlines about nations defaulting on their debts and incomprehensible economic figures, the UK in the grips of a Conservative government who seem just as ruthless and cold as they were in the 80s, and a disenfranchised youth who have little hope of bettering their lives. Sometimes praising escapist music can feel like a head-in-the-sand refusal to engage with the bleak realities around us. Yet surely we need a certain level of optimism to help us go about our lives, to be carried beyond the confines of our near surroundings.
The sixth studio release from electro-pop favorite M83 has some critics calling it M83’s best work yet and some saying it’s too lengthy and unfocused. But, for an album titled Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, it seems that whatever sort of disorientation it may contain was intentional. Dreaming isn’t linear; there isn’t always a clear story, but there’s usually some kind of general concept.
A journey through the introspective and the bombastic, the striving and the exhaustive. Reef Younis 2011 The double album: it carries a cold dread and an uneasy anticipation tinged with pessimism, the grim prospect of a double dose of suffering or generous reward. It’s often the indulgent point of no return for an artist; but for Anthony Gonzalez, the beating heart at the core of M83, it’s no great departure from what’s typically preceded it.
Deregulation under the Reagan administration proves the 1980s were no dream. Frenchman Anthony Gonzalez thrives on the era's bourgeoisie New Order, programming a new millennial mind eraser of New Age raves. Sixth spectacle Hurry Up, We're Dreaming lights up like a Times Square billboard, 1,000 individual lights: the euphoric tribalism of Frankie Goes to Hollywood ("Reunion"), big-top Ratatat ("This Bright Flash"), and even echoes of ancient Alan Parsons Project ("OK Pal").