Album Review: M83 – DSVII

By Lauren Patterson, Contributor
[Mute; 2019]
Rating: 6.5/10

Key tracks: “Taifun Glory”, “A Bit of Sweetness”, “A Word of Wisdom”

Without a doubt, 12 years is a lengthy amount of time to grow as both a human being and a musician. Within that amount of time, major projects may be completed, beliefs may be challenged or expanded, or one may even find themselves trying something totally new. For Anthony Gonzalez, who is currently the entirety of M83, 12 years provided time to formulate and release his newest album, DSVII, which leaves listeners drifting into a world of illusion.

Read more: Album Review: M83 – Junk

DSVII, or Digital Shades Vol. 2, is a follow-up to Digital Shades Vol. 1, which was released in 2007. Within this period, however, M83 created many other pieces, ranging from EPs and albums to scores for short films.

Remaining in tune with the familiar “Digital Shades” fashion, DSVII is composed of 15 instrumental tracks ranging drastically in length, as the shortest track, “A Word of Wisdom”, sits at 1:42, and the final track, “Temple of Sorrow” at 7:04. “Taifun Glory”, the second to last track on the record, incorporates piano that swims through the soul while soft sounds and melodic playing intertwine, perfectly painting shades of animation in the mind. “A Bit of Sweetness” accurately provides a captivating sugary charm. Various sounds are included in this track as it both builds and slows, creating a sense of nostalgia and childlike fantasy. M83’s consistent use of whimsical sounds throughout the album allows the piece as an entirety to remain interesting, ultimately captivating listeners. 

“A Word of Wisdom” takes an even more magical approach by incorporating the flute and light hums alongside M83’s classic use of toying with the synthesizer. This track displays ultimate variety, able to provoke a fairy-like cartoon feel through the use of typically contrasting musical elements. 

Though some fans may continue to long for the “Midnight City” days, it is evident that this second incorporation of the Digital Shades theme is extremely diverse in sound and embodiment, allowing this album to serve as an important piece to the overall M83 discography. As an instrumental album, DSVII challenges traditional noise and incorporates seemingly opposite musical aspects, essentially coming together and formulating reminiscence of youthful bliss.

Listen here:

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