Before the Dawn Heals Us (Mute)

Anthony Gonzalez lives in Antibes, France, but if you didn't know that, you'd swear M83's mastermind was from fucking Pluto. He's like the Little Prince, ensconced on his tiny planet of solitude and ice, transmitting the occasional broadcast of bleak atmosphere and barren loveliness. Before the Dawn Heals Us is the follow-up to last year's paralyzing Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts, and it pushes Gonzalez's music into an even more distant -- and gripping -- orbit. Caught in the heretofore undiscovered gravitational field between Tangerine Dream's Phaedra and Slowdive's Pygmalion, the disc pauses in its trance-like trajectory only long enough to jettison the occasional shard of bit-mapped chamber pop. The result is as spine-tingling as a snowball snuck down the back of your sweater. Many astronomers have posited that Pluto isn't really a planet -- just a wayward chunk of rock drifting through the frigid fringes of our solar system. Somehow, that fits Before the Dawn just fine.

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