M83 announces new project DSVII

Video-game inspired collection comes 12 years after Digital Shades Vol. 1

M83 Jeremy Searle Digital Shades Vol 2 DSVII New ALbum Ambient stream
M83, photo by Jeremy Searle

12 years ago, M83’s Anthony Gonzalez released a compendium of otherwise unused ambient tracks he called Digital Shades Vol. 1. Now, he’s once more exploring sounds outside M83’s typical experimental pop leanings with a follow-up collection dubbed DSVII.

Due out September 20th via Mute, DSVII is a much more deliberate project than Vol. 1. As Gonzaelez explained in a press release, “I wanted to come back with something stronger that featured the depth of a proper studio album without the pressure of providing pop music – faraway from Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming and Junk.” In fact, he’d been left unsatisfied by the fan reaction to 2016’s Junk, and not entirely creatively fulfilled by his involvement in Cique du Soleil’s VOLTA.

His solution was to abscond to Cap d’Antibes in France for five months in 2017. Spending his time relaxing with some classic pastimes, Gonzalez found the spark he was looking for:

(Read: Before Dawn, After Midnight: M83 in 10 Songs)

“I mainly spent my time swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, reading, watching films and playing ‘80s video games. The inspiration behind this record is mainly video game music. It felt so refreshing to play all of these old school games again. There is something so naive and touching about them. It’s simple and imperfect. And this is exactly what I tried to achieve with DSVII.

In an accompanying list of references, Gonzalez mentions games like The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, and Solomon’s Key; music from Brian Eno (Discreet Music), Suzanne Ciani (Seven Waves), and Wendy Carlos (Switched-On Bach); and films like Wolfgang Petersen’s The NeverEnding Story, Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm, and John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness. Sessions took place at his own Los Angeles studio as well as at the Glendale space of his M83 collaborator Justin Meldal-Johnsen, all using analog equipment.

Pre-orders for the effort are going on now. Find the full DSVII tracklist and album art below, followed by Gonzalez’s complete list of inspirations.

DSVII Artwork:

M83 DSVII Album Cover ArtDSVII Tracklist:
01. Hell Riders
02. A Bit of Sweetness
03. Goodbye Captain Lee
04. Colonies
05. Meet The Friends
06. Feelings
07. A Word of Wisdom
08. Lune De Fiel
09. Jeux D’Enfants
10. A Taste of the Dusk
11. Lunar Son
12. Oh Yes You’re There, Everyday
13. Mirage
14. Taifun Glory
15. Temple of Sorrow

M83’s DSVII References:
Video game music:
The Legend of Zelda / Koji Kondo
Phantasy Star II / Tokuhiko Uwabo
Solomon’s Key / Michiharu Hasuya
Crystalis / Yoko Osaka
Final Fantasy / Nobuo Uematsu
Dragon Quest / Koichi Sugiyama
Faxanadu / Jun Chikuma
Mother / Hirokazu Tanaka 

Plantasia / Mort Garson
The Wozard Of Iz / Mort Garson
Switched-On Bach / Wendy Carlos
Discreet Music / Brian Eno
Trilogie de la mort / Eliane Radigue
Manhattan Research, Inc. / Raymond Scott
Seven Waves / Suzanne Ciani
New Age Of Earth / Ash Ra Tempel

Fantastic Planet / René Laloux
Gandahar /René Laloux
Satyricon / Federico Fellini
Zardoz / John Boorman
The NeverEnding Story / Wolfgang Petersen
Phantasm / Don Coscarelli
Quest / Saul Bass
In the Mouth of Madness / John Carpenter

Main synths used for the recording:
ARP 2600
Matrix 12
Prophet 6
Roland Jupiter 6 and 8
Roland Jx 3p
Roland Juno 106
Synthi Aks