Conceptual art/indie with an orbital feel is an apt way of painting the picture of Frenchman Anthony Gonzalez's 3rd full length offering, under the guise of M83 that is the road to depth, outer space and inner peace.
Most druggy music chooses clearly between ecstasy and horror; Anthony Gonzalez deliberately blurs the emotional borders. The French musician, now a one-man-band following the departure of partner Nicolas Fromageau, communicates an awareness that even as the darkest trips have a sick thrill to them, the most pleasurable parts of a lysergic voyage have a creepy aftertaste. On the opener, "Moon Child," you can hear both creepiness and pleasure, as a lucid yet happily stoned female voice reveals that "The whole universe will glow," contrasting ominously with the sort of swelling background choirs Pink Floyd
amassed when it was time for their big production numbers. And excitement and fear meld on "Don't Save Us From the Flames"; surreal snippets of lyrics ("Out of the flames/ A piece of brain in my hair/ The wheels are melting/ A ghost is screaming your name") are followed by the name "Tina" in a moan all-but indistinguishable from the airy synthesizers. Gonzalez is less adept at constructing structurally-complex compositions than at tunefully arranging sound effects--repetitive keyboard licks that could've been swiped from a '70s PBS documentary soundtrack and bone-scraping blasts of My Bloody Valentine
guitar are among his favorite tricks. But his methods are justified by his sense of brevity, and careful alternating between two speeds--soft epic space-trance and vintage shoe-gazer rave-up--adds to the hallucinatory feel. --Keith Harris