A recent EP from Solomon Brown's electronic project Madden has a track list riddled with as many acronyms as a giddy 13-year-old's text messages. It's also got lots of dingbat-typeface characters, a colorful and creepy splatter of an album cover, and a perplexing title: Tumblrwav. Is this some frightful musical dispatch from the Internet apocalypse?
One thing's for certain: Madden's music, including like "TumblrWav" and "IRL URL" will over-stimulate you in a playful way, with harsh, clashing percussion.
But don't go dismissing this recording as a sonic celebration of junk culture. Though you might prefer to look at Madden's visual art through one of those eclipse-viewing pinhole contraptions, Brown also takes the time to build songs carefully, as he demonstrates in the nearly 8-minute "ILY."
Just like the EP's title track, "ILY" opts for a slow and moody start. A chord progression asserts itself in the form of quiet staccato synth, and nary a kick drum is heard until about the 2:30 mark. By the time the beats get louder and the synth hooks more swoopy and overt, Brown has incorporated enough squeaky bits of percussion and fizzy layers of keyboard that the track doesn't feel careless or cliché.
In fact, "ILY" never really indulges in a big drop-the-bass, crank-up-the-dynamics moment. A few times, the track builds up tension that implies that such a moment is coming, but ultimately, it ends just as softly as it began. It's puzzling but fascinating.
See if you can make sense of it all when Madden opens for Chicago's The-Drum at the UW Union South Sett on Saturday, March 9.
MadTracks highlights and provides MP3s of songs performed by local musicians. All tracks here are provided with permission of the artist. If you are a musician based in the Madison metro area and are interested in sharing your work as a MadTrack, please send a message.