Madteo – Noi Noi

This album really grew on me. Initially, my experience of it was overly coloured by the endless looping and glitch tripping that is present on 80 percent of ‘Noi Noi’. There was even a point where I wondered whether this was meant to be a partial satire of the more experimental fringes of ambient house and deep techno. However, with repeated listening I came to appreciate that there is a lot going on in this record; this is thinking person’s music.
The opener ‘Rut-a-round’ is a spritely beginning with electronic spree and naturalistic (birds and distant vocals) effects dropping in and out. Bass swoops and long synths push this forward at a faltering pace. Yet, whatever expectations ‘Rut-a-round’ instils, ‘Dead Drop (When I Saw You That Nite)’ is a really nice house track, a few rough textured vocals come in and out but it is a strong eight minutes. Now though, now the loops begin. Madteo uses a short phrase or arpeggio as a canvas over the top of which he puts chopped vocals and twisting, chewed electronic textures. The vocal features are actually well chosen and bring a strong extra dimension to the tracks that have them. ‘Vox Yr Nu Yr Resolution’ is all vocals though, ‘your staying out of trouble’ gets fragmented and repeated over and over. At the first listen I did not enjoy this track – but, again, with listening it seems that if this had been a 30 second interlude it would seem pointless, however, with a longer six minutes to work out with it has its own distinctive qualities. In fact, ‘Vox Yr Nu Yr Resolution’ turns out as a greater study of sound, drawing out the qualities; timbre and percussive value of a few words by making them jump over and over again. It does make for an intense listen though. The following track ‘Rugrats Don’t Techno for an Answer’ is a little less challenging and within the comfort zone of most, but retains some of this vocal ‘study’ work. Madteo does keep things pretty smooth on the production front throughout but it makes the noisier moments feel like light relief at times. This is especially true of ‘Ratskelier’ and ‘Vitruvian Nightmare’ that feel refreshingly messy and fuzzy at the edges where previous tracks felt claustrophobic and smooth at times.
It is a good album, not a party mix, but interesting and challenging nevertheless and goes to show that ambient music can still surprise.

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