After releasing occasional, one-off singles, French DJ Madeon (real name Hugo Leclercq) has now released his eagerly anticipated debut album, Adventure.
Over numerous releases, fans have been introduced to Leclercq’s unique style of electronic house. From the dramatic anthem of Finale to the upbeat pop of tracks like The City, Madeon’s talents as a producer and DJ has always been exceptionally diverse. With Adventure, he only develops this further, as well as bringing back the style apparent on his previous releases.
The album begins with Isometric – an atmospheric and colourful introduction to the album. Despite initially starting with calm and mellow melodies, the track develops an active and powerful drum beat that leads the way to the next track, You’re On.
This is the first track on the album to feature supporting vocals. For this track, Kyan provides the vocal talent to a vibrant and upbeat pop homage. It is this rather euphoric and bubbly style that fans of Madeon will recognise from tracks such as The City. This then continues with the groovy electronic funk of Ok. The chopped-up vocals and bouncy rhythm is almost identical to the style of Cut the Kid. In this track, Boom Clap singer Charlie XCX provides the vocal undertones that Madeon then distorts in the track. Although her vocals are not easily recognisable, it’s Leclercq’s respect of the vocal talents when adding electronic effects that makes him an incredible producer.
This respect continues with Dan Smith (from the UK rock band Bastille)’s contribution on the smooth and laid-back La Lune. The strong drum beat and Dan’s vocals are reminiscent of his work with Bastille. However, Madeon’s style of electronica in this track feels disjointed in terms of it following the upbeat Ok on the track list. If the track was placed near the end, the album would have had a cinematic ending that is worthy of such a talented producer and excellent debut album.
However, whilst La Lune was one of my least favourite tracks from the album, Pay No Mind – the following track – is undeniably my favourite song from Adventure. Starting with upbeat guitar riffs, the song develops into a happy and colourful track on the album. Alongside emotive vocals from Passion Pit, the chorus is catchy and euphoric, making the track instantly memorable. As well as that, a funky musical interlude towards the end by Madeon pays tribute to one of his inspirations – Daft Punk.
This cinematic atmosphere created by Hugo continues in Beings, with an opening melody that is similar to that of Technicolor. As well as this, the track sees the first vocal contribution by Madeon. Although heavily distorted, Leclercq’s talents as a vocalist add another impressive string to the producer’s bow. We also see Madeon’s vocals in the upbeat Zephyr and the atmospheric conclusion to the album, Home. Whilst his exploration into including his own voice in his songs is to be commended, I couldn’t help but think that his vocals shouldn’t have been edited, and that they should have been similar to Kyan’s vocals on You’re On, and Passion Pit’s contribution to Pay No Mind.
But despite most of the tracks having vocals, Madeon is also keen to include tracks which allow him to explore his talents with electronica. With a slow tempo and long build-up, Pixel Empire is cleverly placed near the end of the album to bring it to a cinematic finish. However, that is not to say that the track doesn’t include the traditional vibrant and jumpy style of Madeon.
Another exploration by Madeon that is apparent in Adventure is his attempt at creating a grungy and borderline dubstep track. With Imperium, Hugo makes a successful leap at the new genre, creating a cinematic anthem and thus opening new doors for the producer to explore.
As well as this, not all of the tracks in Adventure follow the same tempo. In particular, Mark Foster (Foster the People) contributes Nonsense – a track with a rather fast-paced bridge and diverse rhythm. The track’s musical interlude by Madeon also shows his ability to understand the style of each track and mimic it in his melodies.
Lastly, towards the end of Adventure, Madeon switches from the euphoria of the first part of the album, to more mellow and atmospheric songs for the album’s conclusion. Innocence (featuring vocals from Aquilo) is not as loud as other tracks and has a more laid-back, relaxed feel. This then continues with the final song, Home, which brings Madeon’s excellent debut album to a close.
Rating: 5 out 5