In heed of winter, M83 has completed their long awaited double LP, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, recorded with the ultimate care and experience of producer and musician Justin Meldal-Johnsen (most highlighted for Grammy-Award winning work with Beck and touring bassist for NIN). Every space is filled with a soundscape constructed from an architecture of repurposed genres. Orchestral stings, ethereal voices, piano ballads, heavy instrumentation, acoustic pieces and timeless synth melodies–describing this album is like describing a carpenter’s masterpiece by studying the splinters in his hands.
Imagine the very best intro and outros that exits throughout the many genres that make up electric music. Compile those tracks into a fluid piece. Each track opens as though it needs only to introduce the next two minutes. Each track is it’s own character. “Intro” features another vocal timepiece, Zola Jesus. The vocal range of Zola Jesus mixed with the newfound vocal confidence of leader Anthony Gonzalez combusts into “Midnight City”, a powder keg in the genre of 80s synth-pop. And yet, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is not the slightest bit overshadowed by its own single.
Gonzalez first experiences vocal exposure on “Wait”. This soft acoustic track carries a certain emotional weight that’s only accessible through daunting self-reflection. We hear this again on “Splendor”. Alone, these tracks bridge a deep emotional gap. It’s then explored instrumentally on “Another Wave From You”, which sounds akin to early breakthroughs in French electronic music, where aural landscapes are built on the most classic form of synth melody, pioneered by Jean Michel Jarre.
Hiding in the first half of the album, “Raconte-Moi Une Histoire” includes some light hearted spoken word; Meldal-Johnsen’s five-year-old daughter delivers an innocent piece of story telling about what sounds to be an outer body, psychedelic experience.
The narrative takes a sharp turn at “When Will You Come Home”. The spacey instrumental precedes the all-acoustic track, “Soon, My Friend”. It’s a fine mid-album transition where everything slows pace and focuses in on the introspective that Gonzalez has conducted. The ’80s synth-pop feel returns toward the later half of the album, transitioning back into instrumentals, acoustic mementoes and synth melodies intertwined with spoken word.
M83 is no stranger to the art of track transitions. They are just as much a live performance as they are a personal listening experience. But here, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is billed as the perfect piece for those of us buying vinyl, hosting listening parties and debating the differences between analog and digital recordings–it’s nostalgic in a way. It’s commonplace that characteristics like these attract audiophiles, and while nothing here is common, you don’t have to be an audiophile to appreciate this quality piece of work.