December 7, 2011


M83 Emerges With a Sound All Its Own (JIM FUSILLI, 12/05/11, WSJ)

Mr. Gonzalez formed M83 a decade ago in his native France with his former music partner, Nicolas Fromageau. It found its groove on its third album, "Before the Dawn Heals Us," in which Mr. Gonzalez, by then working solo with some hired help, had the resources to expand his sonic palette.

"The first two albums were created in a bedroom," he recalled. "There was no budget; everything was homemade." Though Pitchfork, the Chicago-based music website, praised M83's second album, "Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts," for Mr. Gonzalez it is "Before the Dawn Heals Us" that marks the start of his international career. "I expected nothing from my music, but now I could see it going beyond France and Europe. It was scary but exciting." [...]

Back home in Antibes, Mr. Gonzalez began to clamor for change. "It was almost like a midlife crisis. My life was almost too easy in France. I moved away from my family and friends. I wanted to meet new people."

Relocating to Los Angeles, he set up shop in Hollywood to challenge himself in a new creative environment. "I was craving to do something ambitious and big and something I'd remember all my life. The move from Europe to America made me realize I was ready.

"I'm not scared to say I'm ambitious. I'm scared of waking up in 20 years and having regrets. I want my music to be listened to by the entire planet."

From its opening moments, "Hurry Up, We're Dreaming" announces itself as something more than an of-the-moment rock album: Taken as an ad-hoc suite, the first six tracks are as exciting and flawless a stretch of rock and pop as you'll find. A five-minute introduction serves as an overture, as strings, brass and synth sounds familiar to dance-music fans zoom under whispers by Nika Danilova of Zola Jesus--a counterpoint to Mr. Gonzalez's layered vocal that calls to mind '80s rock anthems. "Wait" is a brooding Roger Waters-like ballad that emerges out of a synth-and-piano soundscape. Big grand numbers abound, as do dabs of unexpected instrumental colors such as trumpet and saxophone solos. Moody instruments bridge the vocal tracks. Joey Waronker and Loic Maurin provide the always bold, occasionally frantic drumming. Mr. Gonzalez plays synths and shares guitar duties with Justin Meldal-Johnsen.

Posted by at December 7, 2011 5:47 AM

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