M83's One Man Drama

BY Cam LindsayPublished Jan 1, 2006

M83 created a stir in 2003 by transcending simple categorisation with an epic mixture of swirling electronica and ambient soundscapes wrapped in the guise of dreamy pop rock arrangements. The man behind the moniker, Anthony Gonzalez, now works alone (after guitarist Nicolas Fromageau departed last year); album number three, Before The Dawn Heals Us, will be followed by a reissue of M83's rare self-titled debut.

On this latest effort, Gonzalez has refined his skill for composing intense aural theatrics, resulting in an even more concentrated record than its predecessor. Before The Dawn Heals Us flirts with uplifting ethereal hymns, spellbinding feedback and tranquil pastures of sound, thanks to his simple songwriting formula. "It comes naturally," he says. "Most of the time when I listen to music, I listen to very dramatic or sad music. When I'm watching a movie, I like to watch ones with deeply sad feelings in them."

Once M83 became a one-man mission, it gave Gonzalez the opportunity to build on his flair for the dramatic, something he ironically achieved with a live band instead of the programming he used on his first recordings. "I like bringing these emotions to people and I think the drummer and the bassist helped me make the songs much stronger and powerful. I wanted to make this record more human, like something between electronic music and acoustic music."

New depths of emotion are most evident on "Car Chase Terror!," a heart-stopping soundtrack to a faux slasher film that features the voice of a young girl trapped with her mother inside a car while a murderous stalker looms. "The intention was to recreate a movie scene. My brother wrote the lyrics of the scene and we asked an American actress [Kate Moran] to make a spoken voice recording. It wasn't really inspired by any particular movie — it was an original work."

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