Level Live Wires (08.07, anticon)
Byline: hazy drones, pretty strings, chopped up beats = Gangsta Shoegaze?
For: cLOUDEAD, Belong, the best of anticon production
To say that Odd Nosdam occupies a unique place within the anticon universe is a misnomer. Nosdam, the one time director of the anticon collective, is arguably THE anticon sound. From his first experiments into dense, droning soundscapes that owe as much to Terminator X as they do to My Bloody Valentine to his genre defying work with cLOUDEAD, Odd Nosdam has done more to craft the post-hip hop sound of anticon than anyone else. On Level Live Wires, which totally unbeknownst to me at the time of writing this was released late 2007, is the most cohesive and best output by mr. Nosdam. Thick drones of multi tracked dubs, grimy studio noise, ambient field recordings, and multi textured synthesizers, shoegazey guitars, and screwed and chopped percussion are punctuated, quite literally, with gunshot bursts of unexpected muscianship. The guest list is staggering but never feels like a name dropping party, in fact only a long study of the liner notes reveals who lends their talents to the fray, Yoni Wolf and Douglas McDiarmid from Why?, Tunde Andebimpe from TV on the Radio along with fellow anticon family members Thee More Shallows and Hood. As beguiling as it is pretty, Level Live Wires is peppered with a field recording of a drive by shooting (recorded right outside Madson's Oakland house) to spoken word pieces by Wolf and Andebimpe, droning guitar from Thee More Shallows as well as multi layered sampling. "Burner" seems to be Madson's attempt to overcome bad memories of a terrible situation in Oakland, from the opening recording of a driveby the song heads fully into a stuttering, halting, haze where synths, samples, and percussion punctuate the song like gunshots while droning guitars stacked on top of each other hold the fragile thing together. Listening to the song is a real cerebral experience. I have to say though, gangsta shoegaze is not my own, thanks XLR8R!