French band M83 are back, with another new album, amazingly their eighth already. It’s called DSVII. Here’s Temple of Sorrow:
Here’s a lovely new piece of music from M83, from the Knife + Heart soundtrack, released this week. This is Karl:
This week’s top albums look like this:
- Sparks – Hippopotamus
- Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – The Punishment of Luxury
- Tracey Thorn – Record
- The Radiophonic Workshop – Burials In Several Earths
- David Bowie – Legacy
- Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon
- The Human League – Anthology – A Very British Synthesizer Group
- The Chemical Brothers – We are the Night
- Alabama 3 – Exile on Coldharbour Lane
- M83 – Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts
I don’t know, you wait eight years for a new Jean-Michel Jarre album, and then three turn up at once. Sorry, I know that’s an obvious thing to say, but it is amusingly apposite. The fun but definitely questionable Téo & Téa (2007) left a slightly iffy taste in a lot of people’s mouths, and apart from the re-recorded and questionably legal version of Oxygène that followed the same year, there was then an extended silence until 2015.
What he was doing, it turns out, was working with every other electronic musician under the sun to create a two volume album, Electronica. The first opens with the sweet title track The Time Machine, with Boys Noize, and then comes one of the opening singles, Glory, with M83. So far, so pleasant.
Both of these albums have been criticised for being a bit disjointed, which, while not entirely unfair, seems a bit of an odd thing to say – of course they are, they’re effectively compilations of collaborations. But the sequence is generally logical, and there isn’t really anything particularly bad on here, so it’s hard to be too critical.
Fellow French musicians Air turn up next, for Close Your Eyes. Some tracks seem to have a lot more of Jarre, and others have a lot more of his collaborators on them, and in general, this one ends up sounding like Air might if they employed Jarre as a producer. That is to say, pretty good.
The first time you can really call something here “brilliant” is on the two parts of Automatic, both collaborations with Vince Clarke. For Clarke, this sounds a lot like his recent solo and collaborative electronic projects, but Jarre’s influence is clearly audible here too, particularly in Part 2, and both halves of the track really are excellent.
The increasingly great Little Boots turns up next, pretty much the only musician other than Jarre to make the laser harp part of their live show, and their collaboration is If..! (yes, two dots). While it’s certainly true that Jarre did something on this one, it’s difficult to know exactly what, but it’s a great song nonetheless.
They keep coming – Immortals, with Fuck Buttons, is an excellent meeting of minds, and while Suns Have Gone with Moby may not be the high point of either artist’s career, you have to be glad that it happened.
It is undeniably an odd list of collaborators though – which is not to say that Gesaffelstein shouldn’t be here – after all, why not? Few might put him in their top thirty living artists of all time list, but the resulting track Conquistador is pretty good. This isn’t so true of Travelator (Part 2) (there doesn’t appear to be a part 1), with Pete Townshend, which I’m not convinced does the legacy of either great musician any particular favours.
That isn’t true of what is apparently Edgar Froese‘s last recorded work, Zero Gravity, which after so many decades finally brings us the joint credit of Jean-Michel Jarre and Tangerine Dream, and it’s ever bit as excellent as it should be. It’s also nice to see Jarre revisiting his earlier musical partner Laurie Anderson for the decidedly odd Rely on Me.
Where these two albums both go a little astray for me is with the number of tracks – they’re varied, but after thirteen pieces of music and with no end in sight, you’re always going to be a little weary. Towards the end of the first volume, we get a fun trance excursion with Armin van Buuren, Stardust, followed by the weirdly dubby Watching You, with 3D from Massive Attack.
Right at the end, John Carpenter turns up for the appropriately creepy A Question of Blood, and finally pianist Lang Lang accompanies an atmospheric piece on album closer The Train & The River. It’s a long, varied, and complex album, but in general it stands well on its own, and if you consider yourself a fan of any sort of electronic music, you should probably be a fan of this.
You can find part 1 of the Electronica project at all major retailers.
Here’s the latest album chart:
- Pet Shop Boys – Super
- Jean-Michel Jarre – Electronica 1: The Time Machine
- New Order – Music Complete
- Conjure One – Holoscenic
- Róisín Murphy – Hairless Toys
- Little Boots – Working Girl
- M83 – Junk
- David Bowie – Best of Bowie
- Leftfield – Alternative Light Source
- David Bowie – Nothing Has Changed
M83 has gone all disco with his latest single Do it, Try it, taken from the new album Junk and accompanied by a picture of a dog sticking its tongue out. Intrigued?
The Live Bit, launched only the preceding week as a new feature, quickly turned out to be way too much trouble and was downsized to just one track, but the Electromix would continue for the rest of the show’s run, this week starring Leeds’s own Utah Saints as the centrepiece.
Show 38: Sat 30 Apr 2005, from 6:00pm-8:00pm
Broadcast on LSR FM, online only. Artist of the week: Apollo 440.
- Moloko – The Time is Now
- System F – Insolation
- Faithless feat. Boy George – Why Go?
- Röyksopp – Remind Me (Someone Else’s Remix)
- Apollo 440 – Astral America
- Mylo – In My Arms (Sharam Jey Remix)
- The Clarke & Ware Experiment – Communication (from Music for Multiple Dimensions)
- New Order feat. Ana Matronic – Jetstream (Richard X Remix)
- LCD Soundsystem – Disco Infiltrator
- Heaven 17 – Being Boiled (Live) [The Live Bit]
- Amorphous Androgynous – The Mello Hippo Disco Show
- Apollo 440 – Pain in Any Language
- Moby – I Like It
- M83 – Teen Angst (Montag Mix)
- Lemon Jelly – Make Things Right
- The Flirts – Passion
- Apollo 440 – Heart Go Boom
- Ladytron – Blue Jeans [Electromix]
- Utah Saints – Love Song [Electromix]
- Piney Gir – Girl [Electromix]
- Jam & Spoon feat. Rea – Be Angeled
The Electromix feature from this show still exists, and will be included on a future Playlist for stowaways.