Showing posts with label madeon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label madeon. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

video review: 'adventure' by madeon

This album surprised me a little. Not that it's a great record, but it was better than I expected.

Okay, Courtney Barnett or Jlin next. Stay tuned!

album review: 'adventure' by madeon

So one comment I tend to get a lot is that you should never compare artists even within the same genre, the point behind it being that since every musical act is trying to create a unique vision or through a unique execution, and thus direct comparisons will fall short in capturing that. And on some level, I can see the relevance of that argument: unless one artist is straight-up ripping off the other - which does happen, let's not kid ourselves here - it's definitely worth as a critic highlighting the unique strengths and weaknesses of an act.

But the more deeply I delved into this argument, the less I buy it. For one, when evaluating the 'unique' strengths and weaknesses, how does one explain what that uniqueness is without drawing a subsequent comparison to an established act? Not only that, if you don't understand the historical evolution of certain music, you can lose necessary pieces of context the artists themselves are trying to create. In other words, on some level the comparison is necessary and can even be a positive thing in order to better explain an artist's relevance not just to today's music, but that of the past. If I were to trace this argument further, the whole 'you shouldn't compare artists' argument is a very modern idea, tied to the belief that everything and everyone is unique and special, which I believe does a great disservice to artists in not providing a scale of quality. I instead would argue success and failure comes in different forms, which links into an acknowledgement of artistic intent while still allowing an critical eye.

Why bring all of this up? Well, when I started getting a ton of requests to cover Madeon, the stage name of French producer Hugo Pierre Leclercq, I saw a lot of comparisons being made with Porter Robinson and I immediately braced myself, especially considering the two men are friends. Now when I initially covered Worlds by Porter Robinson, it wasn't so much that the album was bad but that it did nothing for me, trying to balance a very lightweight, twee tone with overweight EDM, choppy percussion, and a lot of unrealized potential thematically, to say nothing of some naked comparisons that could be made to many other acts in his genre. Now it seems like Madeon was sidestepping some of the comparisons - mostly by getting several artists to feature on this album directly. Immediately I didn't have a good feeling going into this record, but I figured I might as well give them a fair shot. Just because Porter Robinson didn't resonate with me doesn't mean Madeon's 'Adventure' will fall in the same category, right?