Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Fantasy retains M83's exhilarating signature sound



Release date: 17 March 2023
M83 - Fantasy cover
14 March 2023, 09:00 Written by Kate Crudgington

Like many who are struggling to make sense of the tumultuous times we are living through, M83 has opted for illusion over reality.

Unveiled in two parts, for his ninth album Fantasy, the Grammy-nominated French music maverick has dived into the escapist qualities that only cinematic synths and glossy pop melodies can offer – and created an immaculately produced electronic reverie to disappear into.

Since his last full-length release, DSVII (2019) – a collection of instrumentals that followed up the composer’s 2007 album Digital Shades Vol. I – Anthony Gonzalez’s distinctive sounds have been circling in the social-political ether. "My Tears Are Becoming A Sea", lifted from 2011’s Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, went viral on TikTok when the Black Lives Matter protests were happening in 2020, and the Felsmann and Tiley remix of "Solitude" was widely shared online last year around the overturn of Roe v Wade in America.

It’s easier to imagine an alternative to intense unrest and uncertainty when there’s music playing in the background, and this rings true for Gonzalez’s Fantasy. Described as his most personal album to date, the record is a blissful, heady mix of euphoric electronic symphonies that enrapture and distract. The power of this vision fades slightly towards the middle of the record (“Earth To Sea” and “Radar, Far, Gone”), but from the tender, echoing guitar strokes of opener “Water Deep” to the superb, swirling grandeur of the seven-minute “Dismemberment Bureau” – Fantasy provides pleasurable aural respite.

Balancing melancholia alongside euphoria is something M83 routinely excels at, and this shines brightest towards the end of Fantasy. The flow of “Sunny Boy” into “Kool Nuit” into “Sunny Boy Part 2” makes for deeply satisfying listening. Bookending the glistening six-minute “Sunny Boy” with the brief evocative instrumental “Part 2”, Gonzalez provides almost eight minutes of contrasting sound on “Kool Nuit” in between, which slowly blossoms into an atmospheric, shadowy synth scape.

“I believe in the darkness, it's just a sound / I'm in love with some sadness, it's just a sound / Ride with me”, Gonzalez sings on “Amnesia”, inviting listeners to submit themselves to his rich, shimmering synths and guitar tones. It’s as easy to lose yourself in the haze of the melodic, jangly riffs on “Oceans Niagara” and the funk-laden grooves of the eponymous track, as it is to bask in the goose-bump-inducing splendour of “Deceiver”.

Providing a sweet escape from the overwhelming world that inspired it, M83’s Fantasy is one that listeners will drift in and out of, but it retains the exhilarating signature sound that the multi-instrumentalist is rightly admired for.

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