Odd Nosdam

Level Live Wires

Though Odd Nosdam (aka David Madson) of electronica collective cLOUDDEAD relocated to the Bay Area from Ohio a few years ago, it sounds like some very overcast conditions have pursued him. Not to imply Level Live Wires is a bummer — Nosdam is confronting Darkness head-on, learning from and exorcising it instead of wallowing in it. It’s tempting to classify Level as “industrial” as it recalls the more melodious aspects of iconic groups Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire. But while some of that breed sought to evoke gray, impersonal Industry, Odd Nosdam embraces some mechanized expressions to create bleakly beautiful tapestries. There’s low-level “static” and mild tape hissthroughout, yet it feels pastoral, like someone treading upon autumn leaves or hearing faraway music, but you can’t tell where the “melody” stops and ambient “noise” begins. Occasional hip-hop beats seem to emanate from a distant factory rather than scratching or sampling. Lush, undulating waves of soothing, harmonious sustained tonesand motifs are punctuated and interrupted by dissonant bursts. “Up in Flames” recalls the creepy cavernous dub of King Tubby and Bill Laswell — you’ll feel the deep throb of bass in places you didn’t know you could. Level is both challenging and chilled-out, spooky creativity with heart.

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