Madteo, ReCast


Image by Thomas Green

[Meakusma]


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Though I’ve followed his work with interest for some time, Madteo remains an artist I keep tabs on more for his promise and potential than for past triumphs. Assembling blunted audio sketches (“by-products,” he once suggested) footed in hip-hop and dub, but probably most usefully lumped with house, the oblique and obstinate character of Madteo’s sound certainly has my attention. The tracks themselves, however, frustrate or elude me as often as not. One will strike me as too off the cuff, too insubstantial; another as not “out there” enough. The tracks that fit somewhere between, though, do hit on something. Roughly hewn but mesmerizing, their sleep-disorder spell puts me in mind of my first run-ins with the music of STL. And as with that producer, you’re bound to bump into the odd Theo Parrish comparisons. There’s no question he keeps excellent company, with releases on Workshop, Morphine, Meakusma, and Joy Orbison and Will Bankhead’s new Hinge Finger imprint, with future appearances planned for Acido, Sex Tags Mania, and Nuearth Kitchen. And then there’s the trio of luminaries he was able to rally for this excellent remix package: Anthony “Shake” Shakir, Kassem Mosse, and Marcellus Pittman.

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Naysayers could reasonably complain that this package offers no great surprises, each of the three producers cleaving close to his respective wheelhouse. But it’s hard to begrudge their doing so. Marcellus Pittman’s remix of “Mad See Scrolls” is particularly satisfying. Another of the underrated Detroit veteran’s turbulent night drives, its galloping chords and expectant hi-hats spirit the track forward, while nimble keyboard flourishes and a hailstorm of digital streaks offer a feast of ever-changing detail to take in along the way. As for Kassem Mosse, his retooling of “Very Sweaty Palms” will do little to alter the party line that his remix work has yet to attain the heights of his original productions. Here the vocal outbursts (courtesy of Sensational) are obscured behind an impressive workout of dextrous drum programming. Drifting through the rhythm are dusty, wistful piano chords of the sort I’d sooner expect from a Christopher Rau record. It’s a likable track that ably builds a mood, but only hints at the depth of personality that distinguishes KM’s finest hours.

Don’t count on the same from Anthony Shakir. Taking on what I’d class as one of Madteo’s most durable tracks, last year’s “Bangin on the Ceiling,” Shake flips it completely inside out. Where the loose original was a crepuscular haze of drums, rattles, and whirs, Shake presents a prowling panther of spacey electro-funk that, like so many of his tracks, sounds both retro and otherworldly. I like to think this is what it would sound like if I ran Cameo backwards. In addition to being a winning set of tracks, the choice of contributors provides a handy set of compass points for approaching Madteo’s intended claim on the dance music landscape, and — I have to believe — an encouraging sign of things to come.

Malik  on April 3, 2012 at 3:20 PM

love the mood of this track. Mr pittman never lets me down. Detroit Never lets me down.

andreas krumm  on April 4, 2012 at 8:09 AM

T E O !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NYC is back !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Trackbacks

Little White Earbuds March Charts 2012 | Little White Earbuds  on April 6, 2012 at 5:12 PM

[…] [Killekill]Steve Kerr 01. Claro Intelecto, “It’s Getting Late” [Delsin] 02. Madteo, “Mad See Scrolls” (Marcellus Pittman Remix) [Meakusma] 03. Black Rain, “Now I’m Just A Number” [Blackest Ever Black] 04. […]

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