By: Alex Wardell
I remember the first time I saw Madeon’s “Pop Culture, Live Mash-up” on YouTube; reminiscing with fondness at the wonder this musician awoke inside me. Nine years later, Hugo has produced his own album, a number of EP’s, as well as, collaborations with many monolithic artists within the EDM industry; and now drops his latest, during a quite extensive North American tour. ‘Good Faith Live,’ I anticipate to be transcendent as Madeon’s performance at The Complex, last Tuesday. Hugo Pierre Leclercq has a timeless style and ever adapting production techniques. He is one of the few EDM artists which I still find myself impressed with as I get older and my preferences in music change. This is very important to me because of the nuance sometimes involved with new artists and varying styles within EDM genres concerning what’s relevant; the difference between what is currently popular and which artists are truly talented musicians and producers. Very rarely do I find an artist, who possesses the encompassing skill set, capable of attracting a new audience, while also keeping their fan base interested and excited. Madeon seems to do this in an almost effortless manner. The anticipation which had been digging beneath my skin for over a month now, yet as I gazed on the stage instantly dissolved amidst the dancing lights and rhythmic hum.
I was uncertain concerning the opening performer. Unexpectedly, the tones of LP Giobbi filled the venue. Wasting no time at all she blasted into her high energy set, suddenly my hands were up and I departed on a journey of elation; Giobbi’s synth-electro feels and persistent bass as my map. Free flowing synth wave blasts were interjected by hypnotic beats, sculpting the vibe and immersing us within Giobbi’s handcrafted world of frequencies. Bathed in crimson light, faith was catching Giobbi’s musical talent and training anchored her sound, allowing us to explore her transitions from House to Electro, Progressive House, somehow sampling from her entire board, while soothing the audience with jazz inspired piano breaks on the keys. Spinning like a top, Giobbi reveled and thanked Salt Lake as sapphire and ruby lights faded.
Since 2011, Hugo Pierre Leclercq has built a career by himself. Performing, producing, singing and songwriting are just a few of the abilities Madeon has been evolving and sharing with the world. When asked, he describes his writing methods as organic and sometimes spontaneous, which I believe are the sources of the vast spectrum of emotion that connects the listener to his discography; a shining example of an artist’s vision and love for music, igniting the same flame within their fans. I was surprised to see a wide range of ages in attendance; that alone should be enough to encourage anyone to branch out and listen to new artists and different music.
The crowd was growing thicker, excitable, elated; no one amidst the throng moved during the break between acts. We peered ever curiously into the veiled platform; there was being constructed a massive LED display, pylons equipped top to bottom with articulating lasers, wave lights, an arsenal of spotlights, as well as others I simply did not see or could not recognize. Center stage was comprised of seamless backlit glass platforms equipped with the tools of the modern day, live mixing wizard we were all there to enjoy. I had no reference for this sleek and powerful set in front of me.
The microphone stand, not unlike a lightsaber, slowly glowed as a familiar synth wave tone sang in the upper reaches of the hall. In an instant, I was quite actually blinded by a flood of beautiful white light illuminating every inch of the venue. ‘Good Faith Live’ had kicked off and instantly, felt in meaning the name. Because, as my eyes recovered, centered within this vestibule of light and sound and within our attention stood Madeon. We were engulfed with a display of color, light, technical skill and beauty for the remainder of the performance. This tour was announced to have Hugo embark not only on this tour for the debut of his new album but to premiere a performance unlike any Madeon had ever tried before. I was enthralled, mesmerized and romanced in tracks and loops of samples to which I consider to be soundtracks to certain chapters in my life. Madeon worked his soundboard and mixers in the effortless fashion I expect. I found his music at a time when I was actually bored with EDM, not truly expecting much from any artist really. Here I was again, not sure what exactly, techno had left to show me. Now I write this with and about ‘Good Faith Live,’ as a friend and teacher; humbled in acknowledging Madeon’s adaptability and talent to be much more profound and versatile than my ability to perceive or even anticipate the creation made by such skills. Powerfully, Hugo Pierre Leclercq drove us through a dreamlike mix of all his music in a style, with a presence, for which I was not prepared. Dropping beats here, looping samples never before heard: tracks from the new album (yet to be released,) flowing beautifully from the songs I know and love in his early EP’s and collaborations, singing into his Technicolor staff. Unrelentingly and passionately I was taken by the music through a wormhole to a dimension of ethereal and collective happiness, madness and freedom.
This is definitely one of the times I will write a review and hope that the images I captured can show what that night was like. However, the experience of emotion and awe are not something I can articulate except by simply begging the child in all of you to take control and avail yourself to something different, something uncomfortable yet exciting. In one night, I felt my inner skeptic lose his voice a song of good faith begin to shake and quicken my spirit. One of a kind person and artist, Madeon will forever be in my head, heart and ‘up next.’ I can’t wrap this review up in any other fashion than to simply thank Hugo Leclercq for doing what he does and allowing us to ride along with him in this journey.