From the dramatic opening of Last Saturday to the epic closing track I'm Happy, She Said, M83 create a masterpiece in their self-titled debut album. The whole disc has a cinematic feel to it. It is not a pop album.
The disc takes you on a journey and seems structured to be digested in sequence. I like this album quite a bit because it is unified as a whole. It takes a few ideas and builds on them. The brief opening track gives way to the more introspective Night, with its sample of a man speaking in German about living for 100 years.
This kind of an opening to the disc draws a line down the middle almost immediately, as it clues the listener in to being about greater ideas. A French diplomat once said something along the lines of "yes, its practical, but does it work in theory?", this disc certainly works in theory. It is brimming with higher concepts. It starts out as a meditation on time with a distinct European sensibility and then it changes into a science fiction epic.
Each movement is punctuated with an semi-electronic acoustic piano based track (Last Saturday, At The Party, Staring At Me, and My Face). There are also interludes of exquisite electro pop (the ironically titled Sitting) and the purely electronic and melancholy (Violet Tree).
The longer tracks merge the notion of a future time with a sentimental romanticism. They abound with samples from films which underscore certain existential questions about life, love and happiness. The overall tone of the album feels very serious. It has aptly been described as reminiscent of anime from the late 1970s (anything by Leji Matsumoto)-- a child's dream of adventure and growth towards maturity.
- Last Saturday
0:58 - I really like this because it has an immediacy to it-- sounds like fast over-sampled acoustic piano
5:47 - like 'Wings of Desire'
- At The Party
1:01 - syrupy acoustic piano
4:27 - robot voice - almost destroying language
3:03 - French "Lets Go" rockin spacy electro--- the bounciest track
- Facing That
7:35 - sci-fi A: "yes yes its true I am your only friend-- nobody else even knows you exist" B: "They Will-- it will be the greatest day in the history of mankind." She Says: "Come to bed Tom"
- Violet Tree
4:53 - starts with these haunting bells
- Staring At Me
1:37 - "I'm just waiting for you" short bassy keyboard track
- I'm Getting Closer
5:19 - "Ok I'll try-- but My Way" then electronic voice cut up near the end
- She Stands Up
5:42 - child: "do you think he still loves you" woman: "how would I know that answer?" child: "I think he does."
6:31 - good precis of work on this disc, starts with Japanese voice, "I'm sorry gentlemen...but it will be best if you stay here" (in a sinister East European voice), sounds like its from some vampire flick-- this track always reminds me of transylvania, it also appeared on the FRENCH SOUNDS compilation
- My Face
1:39 - acoustic piano and high-pitched electronic keys
- I'm Happy, She Said
17:51- starts with bells and then gets more spacey and dramatic adding theremin, french horn and other effects, gets quieter after about 5:40 and then becomes this slow kind of wave-pulse sound that has this shimmery effect then at 8min it suddenly sounds like a bunch of strings from an orchestra, with the sounds of a landing spacecraft over it, very much like the soundtrack to a piece of anime from the late 70s -- the sound stops completely at the 10th minute at 15:15 some crackly static appears, the final minute contains this baroque organ sound puncuated by noise then it fades out