Odd Nosdam: Music for the advancement of shoegazing

"I have a lot of emotions inside of me that can get pretty intense, art is the only thing I can do to keep myself sane."

Feature by Ali Maloney | 08 Sep 2007
  • Odd Nosdam

With a crackle of electricity and the slow undulating of monolithic, time-stretched loops, Level Live Wires is perhaps Odd Nosdam's finest expression of his crate-dug shoegaze and ethereal ambience. Most prominently known as the producer behind the behemoth dada lullabies of cLOUDEAD (and some of Sole's best beats – but that's a different sphere altogether), previous solo albums from Nosdam (AKA David Madson) have felt more like scrapbooks or compilations rather than full and coherent releases.

With new LP, Level Live Wires, Madson weaves a hypnotic kaleidoscope that mines the same shafts of ethereal surrealism that served cLOUDEAD so well, but beefed up to compensate for the lack of Doseone and Why?'s interweaving meta-narratives.

"Sound is not tangible and that's why I love it," Madson enthuses. "I don't really want to get into what is or isn't art, but sound is definitely an entirely different medium. You can be anywhere and hear a sound or sounds, but you can't be anywhere and see a painting or watch a movie. Sound can overwhelm you physically but it's not tangible and that's why I love it."

For this reason, and to fully experience all the minutiae that make up the nuances and subtle shifts of loops, Madson insists that listeners take the time to listen to this new album on the best stereo possible. "There's so much more you can do with sound and it can affect people in different ways depending on what situation they're in when they experience it," he says, hopeful that each listener will hear Level Live Wires as a unique and personal experience. Although Anticon began very much as a hip-hop label, albeit one for the "advancement of hip-hop," it has gradually morphed and evolved into something entirely distinct from what that genre could be perceived as, which is something Madson is very conscious of.

"There are beats and I'm definitely influenced by hip-hop very heavily, but there are so many other things you could call it before you could call it hip-hop," he affirms. "I grew up listening to all the classic hip-hop records and didn't really understand how they were making all those sounds, but as I got more into samplers and that mentality I started to understand more about what was going on. With this record, all of the sounds came from other records as I don't really use instruments like guitars or keyboards or whatever, so in that sense it could be seen as hip-hop."

But Madson is also very aware of the oft-neglected fact that turntablism and sampling pre-date the emergence of hip-hop by a considerable margin.
"Yeah, people have been collaging sound for 80 years or so," he affirms. "Musique concrete techniques and people like Pierre Henry or Pierre Schaeffer or Vladimir Ussachevsky have been as much of an influence as people like Prince Paul or the RZA."

Very pleased with his new musical independence, Madson plans to keep making solo tracks but remains ambiguous as to any future collaborations along the lines of his cLOUDEAD work, but has no plans of slowing down any time soon.
"I have a lot of emotions inside of me that can get pretty intense," he admits. "For me, art is the only thing I can do to keep myself sane. And everything I do is part of my creative process."

Level Live Wires is released through Anticon on 28 Aug

http://www.anticon.com, http://www.myspace.com/nosdam