Something has gone awfully askew in the music of Madegg. The 23-year-old producer, real name Kazumichi Komatsu, used to delight in creating warm, shimmering electronica that seemed to come bathed in the lambent glow of a late summer evening.
Compared to the bewitching textures of his 2013 sophomore album, “Kiko,” the music on Madegg’s third full-length, simply titled “New,” isn’t merely jarring. There’s a lot here that sounds instinctively wrong.
Take the opening track, “Savages,” which consists of little but a two-bar loop of distorted synthesizer melody and the barest remnant of a techno beat. All treble, no bass, it’s like a snippet of a euphoric dance floor anthem that got left out in the sun for too long.
“I had this image of seeing the music from a long way off,” he says, explaining the inspiration for the album’s smeared, degraded sonics. “I didn’t feel any clear divide between the rhythms and the ambient parts. It’s like it was all the same.”
While Madegg’s earlier work has recalled the likes of Four Tet and Flying Lotus, this time there’s a conspicuous debt to British producer Actress, whose music warps and refracts techno into barely recognizable forms.
In the case of “Savages,” Komatsu says he was picturing the space that sound travels through after leaving the speakers. At other moments on the album — as when an airy melody is smothered by a persistent bass line in “Paste Dream” — it can feel like listening to music seeping through the walls of a nightclub.
Although the harsh textures are radically different from his earlier work, Madegg hasn’t lost his light touch. In comparison to the painstakingly wrought music of some of his contemporaries, the tracks on “New” never feel fussed-over.
“Sometimes I work really quickly,” he says. “It might take me less than an hour to finish a track. Whatever you’re making, it’s important to know when to stop.”
He generally records the final mix of a song in a single take, and is disinclined to spend too much time tinkering afterward.
“If I keep working on little details, it might get closer to perfection, but I always lose interest,” he says. “If I can’t get something done quickly, I get irritated. I just want to turn the computer off.”
Komatsu’s prolific output extends well beyond music. He’s currently studying for a master’s degree in contemporary art at Kyoto City University of Arts, where he’s branched out from graphic design into sound art.
For a recent work, “20 Cassettes (The Sea),” he suspended 20 portable tape recorders over the surface of the water at a beach in his native Kochi Prefecture, later arranging them on the floor of a Kyoto gallery to create a lo-fi surround-sound installation.
Though he’d intended to keep his art and music-making activities separate, they have a habit of bleeding together.
“I’m doing all these things at the same time, so they affect each other,” he says.
He cites diverse inspirations for his music, ranging from conceptual artist Susan Calle to the films of Yasujiro Ozu.
“When I’m making Madegg tracks, I get influenced by visuals more than by sound. There have been a lot of times when I’ve seen someone else’s work and then used that as inspiration for a track. It doesn’t all come from me: I absorb a lot from other people.”
“New” is released on Nov. 18. Madegg plays a release party at Socore Factory in Nishi-ku, Osaka, on Nov. 20 (10 p.m. start; ¥2,500 in advance; 06-6567-9852), followed by a series of dates nationwide. For more information, visit kazumichi-komastu.tumblr.com
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