As a nation, no one does much better at total sonic immersion than the French. In their soundtrack to Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides and on the underrated 10,000 Hz Legend, Parisian down-tempo maestros Air created a world of luxe melancholy draped in moody prog-rock guitar; on their fine new Alphabetical, stylish pop-rockers Phoenix evoke a totally inhabitable Miami Vice of the mind. Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts, the second album by Antibes' M83 -- bedroom producers Anthony Gonzalez and Nicolas Fromageau, with occasional help from assorted friends -- belongs to this tradition, too. It's an album of formless but gorgeous post-shoegaze atmospherics: synths that crinkle like guitars, guitars that ooze like synths, disembodied vocal oohs and aahs, digital percussion less committed to timekeeping than storm-centering. If it's songs you're after here, bring your binoculars. But as Fromageau's name suggests, Dead Cities offers some of the creamiest textural cheese this side of Jean Michel Jarre.
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