Atonal, experimental electronica is not everyone’s cup of tea. While I’m normally pretty keen on some down-low, fucked-up laptop tweakouts, I have to admit that my first few listens through 'Teach', the latest EP from a young Kyoto beat prodigy who calls himself Madegg, left me feeling fairly lukewarm. The music, built as it is from shuffling glitch-hop beats overlaid with fragmented, lysergic samples, is certainly interesting. But interesting, at least initially, did not seem to equate to compelling or memorable.
It took a few listens before I began to notice subtle differences between the tracks, and these contrasts were a means of shoving a foot in the door of 'Teach's distant and disinterested facade. The gentle, colourful synth cascades of ‘Naviea’ and ‘Zudon’ contrast nicely with deep, disjointed groove workouts like ‘Penguin’ or ‘Thalassa’. In his best moments, Madegg’s electronica evokes a ghost in the machine. It’s as if he’s not really a producer at all, but an idiot-savant who has created an infant AI capable of sequencing wonderful, childlike music from the depths of its own binary intelligence. This sense of naïve self-discovery permeates the music on 'Teach' and is not without its charms. It also seems kind of fitting, considering that many of these tracks are five or six years old, dating back to Madegg’s salad days.
Still, the self-consciously experimental approach Madegg takes to his beatmaking doesn’t always feel great. Teach is peppered with clunkers. Some, like ‘Gold’ and ‘Flashbackerr’, are fairly aimless stretches of noise and/or synth ambience. A particularly irksome culprit is ‘Jaha’, where wonky, lazy non-melodies clash annoyingly with one another over a tedious, repetitive rhythm. Coming early in the album’s tracklisting, it sours the pitch a little bit.
Posted: Sun 20 May 2012