When Terrence Malick premiered The Tree of Life earlier this year at Cannes, he was simultaneously booed and applauded. Critics described the film as either an existential work of impressionistic genius or an overblown failure that bordered on self-parody; it may well be that both opinions were correct. The same could be said about electronic musician M83. Both Malick and M83 create art that has only the grandest ambitions. Malick sets out to portray humanity’s place in the universe through moving pictures, while M83 attempts the same lofty goal with music. A preview trailer for M83's new double-album, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, features a montage of images taken from all over the planet—butterflies, roiling clouds, nighttime city-scapes—all set to his overpowering synths. The first single, “Midnight City,” more than fulfills the ambitions of that teaser. Containing both the '80s nostalgia of Saturdays=Youth and the transcendent, space-shuttle launching synth-sweeps of Before the Dawn Heals Us, "Midnight City" is a gorgeous distillation of M83's career so far. Just as The Tree of Life is a family drama that also happens to have CGI dinosaurs and imagery from the birth of the universe, “Midnight City” is an uplifting celebration of joie de vivre that ends with a gloriously schmaltzy saxophone outro. Whether you find this transcendent or ridiculous is subjective, but you really do have to experience it for yourself.
M83—Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
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