What is that noise? A high-voiced monkey hoot? Some home security alarm pattern, looped? A pitch-shifted basketball-court sneaker squeak? More likely, the product of pure studio synthetics, but still: The strutting, four-note melodic pattern that adorn the first measures and the chorus of M83's "Midnight City" glares like neon--it burns a mark on the senses, and it thrills.
M83 mastermind Anthony Gonzalez has long summoned near-tangible blocks of heart-swelling sound out of cold keyboards, canned drum sounds, and vocal cheese. On that front, "Midnight City" is both rote and stunning. But it achieves more. By the time a velvety sax solo arrives for the outro, Gonzalez's use of the post-post-post-ironic instrument of the year comes across as only the second most brazen thing about the song. No. 1, of course, being that damn noise.
On iTunes: Not available yet, but you can download the track for free by providing an email address at M83's website.