M83 - Digital Shades Vol. 1
Mar 5, 2020
Part 4/8

It’s the halfway mark through my deep dive into M83’s discography, and so far, so good. Digital Shades Vol 1, or DSVI, is Anthony Gonzalez intentionally returning to the ambience-inspired tracks that were introduced on the self-titled M83, which was released 6 years prior to this album. The sounds, on DSVI, however, have a more lighthearted tone than the previously mentioned M83.

This record is the shortest of M83’s discography to date, with DSVI clocking in at 35 minutes, a whole 20 minutes shorter than M83’s next shortest album, Junk, but I’ll cover that later. The album feels short, and I think that does it favors, as there is a notable lack of filler tracks, or intentional interludes.

The album is melodic and calming. The lack of a jarring synth or guitar make this album a soothing listen, and it’s a breath of fresh air from the band that was leaning towards the epic fast-paced, electronic thrillers of past albums.

The violins and occasional piano tunes that preside on tracks “Dancing mountains” and “By the kiss” are well-executed and are kind on the ears. However, the lack of instrumentals can be a bit bland at times, as there are sections in some tracks where time passes and there is a lack of substance. While this most likely adds to the storytelling that M83 wants to get across to the listener, it isn’t too clear.

And finally, it wouldn’t be an M83 album without a lengthy closing track. “The highest journey” follows the tone set by the previous 9 tracks and continues it right to the end. A solid closer, a solid album, but not one of M83’s best. It just feels like a step backwards, but one that does not detriment M83 in any way. It’s never a bad thing to return to your roots.

One word to summarize this album: Relaxing

Waves, waves, waves: 6/10
Coloring the void: 7/10
Sister (Part 1): 6.5/10
Strong and wasted: 7/10
My own strange path: 6.5/10
Dancing mountains: 7.5/10
Sister (Part 2): 5/10
By the kiss: 6/10
Space fertilizer: 7/10
The highest journey: 7/10

Cumulative Track Score: 66/100
Given Score: 66/100

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