Level Live Wires
Odd Nosdam - Level Live Wires
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Odd Nosdam
Level Live Wires

David P. Madsori wears many hats. He was one of the founding members of the groundbreaking Clouddead, he was the art director for the Anticon label for five plus years, and he's been an audio-advisor for a good chunk of albums on that label (including work by Sole, Jel, Sage Francis, Why? and others). Under the name Odd Nosdam, he's put out a couple full length albums, and has remixed work by the likes of Boards Of Canada along with DJing loads of Bay Area gallery events. Level Live Wires is his newest album, and I honestly haven't heard anything quite like it before.

Yes, it has that same sort of dark, simmering quality that Clouddead releases have become known for, but this is an altogether different beast entirely. It touches on everything from power electronics (think Tim Hecker and Fennesz at their sound-blastingest) doom (seriously), and super-gritty, dense instrumental hip-hop. After a short intro track that sets the stage, Level Live Wires really kicks into gear with "Kill Tone," a thick and juicy piece that drops piano and synth melodies into a dense, swirling mass of sound as beats courtesy of Jel thump underneath.

"Freakout 3" ups the ante even more, with a field-recording laced ambient intro that gives way to one of the more heavy tracks on the album. With one of the thickest bass melodies I've heard in some time, it sludges away with numerous layers of overdriven textures and filtered vocals. "Fat Hooks" follows, and it takes the dense style and moves it someplace slightly warmer, as filtered vocals courtesy of Jessica Bailiff drift through another heady atmosphere full of gorgeous droning layers and muffled beats.

The guest appearances are all over the place on the release, and Why? and Tunde Adebimpe add vocals to "Kill Tone 2," a rather drastic reworking of the track that came earlier in the release, complete with strings and a more fractured structure. "Up In Flames" manages to let a sliver of light peek through as well, with pitch-bent vocals and some playful piano melodies that somehow drag the molasses-thick track up from the depths. Despite all the different guest appearances (in addition to the above, Dee Kesler of Thee More Shallows and Chris Adams of Hood and Bracken), Level Live Wires never feels hodge-podge or unsteady. Instead, it simmers with a sort of feverish intensity that doesn't sound quite like any other instrumental hip-hop I've heard in some time. Considering it's coming from the hands of a founder of Clouddead and arrives on the Anticon label, I suppose that shouldn't be surprising at all. With eleven tracks running a lean forty minutes, it just begs for repeated listening.

rating: 7.7510
Aaron Coleman 2007-08-30 20:30:59