Intro does exactly as you’d expect, Antony Gonzales’ epic double album Hurry Up We’re Dreaming opens in familiar portentous style. Sound builds, fills your ears, hushed vocals fade in and out, but the track doesn’t seem to go anywhere in particular, which is fine, it is specifically called ‘Intro,’ after all. What makes this confusing is that it is a duet with Zola Jesus, why waste a collaboration with so much potential on such an aimless track? Downbeat, even by current moody electronic standards, it is hardly a statement of intent.
Except that maybe it is… because what follows is 22 tracks of infuriating promise. Immediately after Intro we launch in toMidnight City, which might be the standout track here; the problem with Hurry Up We’re Dreaming can be summed up by juxtaposing these two tracks. On the one hand a great rush of energy bearing down on you, thrilling you with the ideas and sheer energy they chuck at you; on the other a stumbling ramble, murmured vocals, no memorable peaks. When it is great (and at times it really, honestly is!) it is a great listen: driving and purposeful, catchy and inspired. When the album loses focus, as it frequently does (there are four or five interludes and that isn’t counting the tracks that never seem to get started), you’re left wishing it would just hurry up and get to the good stuff again.
There are some REALLY enjoyable bits of Hurry Up We’re Waiting, Midnight City with (and I can’t quite believe I’m typing this) its excellently timed sax solo. Reunion, Claudia Lewis, OK Pal and New Map all hit the spot. Raconte-Moi Une Histoire – a story about a magic frog told by a child – is a lovely little interlude that DOES work, “it’ll be great, right?” the child asks, full of the optimism and fantastical imagination of youth. This, I think, is where M83 hoped they were headed. Gonzales says that he wants to “take leftfield music to the masses”. He may do, but unfortunately I don’t think that this double album is the way to do it. M83 are capable, at times, of producing magnificent explorations of feeling and emotion through sound. However, there are far too many tracks here that meander aimlessly, in the sense that they are go nowhere and leave no lasting impression.
While I admit it would be tiring to have an album of nothing but wall to wall exhilaration, Hurry Up We’re Dreamingmistakes down-tempo for deep and meaningful. M83 says this album is a reflection of “30 years of being a human being… a compilation of all [his] previous music together” he’s not wrong. This is a patchy album of jaw dropping highs marred by far too many aimless songs, that end without ever really starting. I so very wanted to love this album, maybe I had too high hopes for it, but then maybe so too did Gonzales.
This post originally appeared on The Fugitive Motel on 19 October 2011