M83’s new all-analogue synth album was inspired by The Legend of Zelda

(Image credit: M83)

Following the addition of Sega- and Namco-themed devices to the Nintendo Switch version of Korg Gadget, further evidence of electronic music’s ongoing love affair with ‘80s video games comes with the news that M83’s new album takes inspiration from the likes of The Legend of Zelda, Phantasy Star II and Solomon’s Key.

Writing on his website, Anthony Gonzalez, the creative mind behind M83, says that the concept for DSVII (Digital Shades Vol. 2) came to him though a vivid memory seminal role playing game Dungeons & Dragons.

“I wanted to create some music that could be part of this adventure and journey with all of its solitary knights, dreamy landscapes, strange animals, forgotten myths and old spells,” he says. 

Gonzalez explains that, following the release of Junk, his 2016 album, plus a subsequent tour and work with Cirque du Soleil, he felt mentally and physically exhausted, and so decided to take a break.

“During the summer of 2017, I spent five months in Cap d’Antibes, France,” he explains. “I mainly spent my time swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, reading, watching films and playing ‘80s video games.

“The inspiration behind this record is mainly video game music. It felt so refreshing to play all of these old school games again. There is something so naive and touching about them. It’s simple and imperfect. And this is exactly what I tried to achieve with Digital Shades Vol. 2.”

The album was recorded using all-analogue equipment in late 2017 and early 2018. Synths used include the ARP 2600, Sequential Prophet-6, and Roland Jupiter-6, Jupiter-8, JX-3P and Juno-106. If that lot doesn’t get the ‘80s sonic juices flowing, nothing will. 

As well as video games, Gonzalez also says that he drew inspiration from Wendy Carlos’s Switched-On Bach and Brian Eno’s Discreet Music, as well as movie soundtracks from the likes of The NeverEnding Story and Fantastic Planet.

Digital Shades Vol. 2 is the sequel to Digital Shades Vol. 1, which was released in 2007. It’ll be available on 20 September.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

All-access artist interviews, in-depth gear reviews, essential production tutorials and much more. image
All-access artist interviews, in-depth gear reviews, essential production tutorials and much more.
Get the latest issue now!