Gig reeview: M83, Glasgow Arches

WITH an ambient drone pervading the venue, it was not clear where the atmospheric preamble ended and the gig began. Was it when the hooded figure started tinkering with some wires?

No, it was when the masked man raised his arms and the epic synth sound was unleashed. M83 may like to tease a little but they are just as keen to deliver the punchline as their audience is to receive it.

Over the past ten years, this French group has produced an eclectic array of electronica, and that diversity was showcased in a set which was dynamic and energetic – leaping from post-rock soundscapes to chunky analogue electro numbers, from proggy synth arpeggios to Euro trance with light, gymnastic vocals from Morgan Kibby – without ever storming the barricades.

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Although they have none of the innate funkiness of their countrymen Justice and Daft Punk, their drummer made all the difference on a couple of the more momentous tracks, spiriting the rest of the players along in his slipstream.

M83’s music always has somewhere to go. A quirky art rock number developed from a clipped, repetitive chant into a go-faster electro punk sprint. Even the quietest moment in the set, a lambent, glistening synth interlude, eventually built to an epic climax. By the end, they had stored up enough goodwill for a saxophone solo to be greeted with high excitement. A brief clubby encore was classier, heading into groove-led techno territory.

Rating: ****