Odd Nosdam – Mirrors (Alien Transistor)


Berkeley, California-based electronic producer David Madson’s preceding 2017 album as Odd Nosdam for Sound In Silence ‘LIF’ saw him venturing out into pure ambience and drones, but two years on this follow-up ‘Mirrors’ sees him working entirely with found sounds, most of them sourced from rare and private press vinyl to create a collection that’s far more based around instrumental hiphop beats and illbient cinematic vibes.

There’s a strong sense of emotional narrative running through these eight tracks, with opening track ‘Mirrors I’ introducing the melancholic descending piano and plucked guitar arrangement that forms a recurrent motif here, the brooding piano keys merging with phased harmonics and angelic female backing vocals as the rolling hiphop breaks gather pace, only for everything to suddenly become drowned out by the sounds of waves crashing on a beach (or is it white noise?).

‘Air Up’ meanwhile throws its emphasis on Odd Nosdam’s signature heavily fuzzed out textures as overdriven synths and squealing theremins arc against dusty snare breaks and the kind of precariously bendy analogue synths you’d associate with Tobacco, as everything slows to a woozy crawl amidst layers of dubbed-out reverb.

In contrast, ‘Cookies’ gets more optimistic and wide-eyed as showers of twinkling melodic notes and bells introduce some lighter shades into the mix, though the vast overdriven bass drops that surge below them easily represent some of this album’s most ferocious elements, ‘The Burn’s psychedelic shower of airy synths, pitch-bent bell harmonics and slowed-down guitar bends offering something of a soothing sound-bath in its wake.

Elsewhere, ‘Mirrors II’ forms what’s arguably this album’s centrepiece, reintroducing the brooding orchestral motif that opened this collection but then spending nine minutes taking it off into a considerably deeper and darker place as chilling ambient synths whir against the metronomic drum groove, the massed vocal and ambient textures bleeding out in a vast swell of colour before suddenly dying away into vinyl crackle and nothingness. While at just 33 minutes in running length, it feels more like a mini-album (which seems to be his penchant), ‘Mirrors’ easily ranks amongst Odd Nosdam’s strongest work.


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