For 20 year old Hugo Pierre Leclercq, producing music has been a way of life. Under the moniker, Madeon, Leclercq has been a star on the electronic stage. With humble beginnings as a Youtube performer, Madeon has effortlessly transitioned from bedroom producer into the highly sought after musical virtuoso he is today. His first full-length album, Adventure is an effervescent undertaking; painting for the listener, a bright landscape filled with old and new electronic soundscapes, vibrant lyrics sung by an assemblage of top names in pop music today. A bold first album, Adventure is a look at the future of electro-pop, and it does not disappoint.
Adventure is an expansive, emotional story that expresses many stages of youth and transition. Beginning with the track "Isometric", Leclercq starts off listeners with a gentle, calm, awakening feeling, the earlier parts calling to mind Edvard Grieg's "Morning Mood", before completely launching off in the the beautiful brutality only a producer as talented as Leclercq can provide. The first half of Adventure is wonderfully exuberant. In six songs, Leclercq conveys spirited and emotional confidence many would consider beyond his young years. Inspirational in their execution, songs like "OK" and "Beings" explore themes of growing, as a creature of self and as a person. Both tracks utilize glitchy vocal-cutting techniques and bubbly synths to create this ethereal, floating feeling of self-assurance in the face of imposing challenges, such as becoming the person you are meant to be, and overcoming what you need to to be yourself.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="652"] Welcome to the desert of feels.[/caption]
Meanwhile, songs such as, "La Lune", "Pay No Mind", and "You're On", are the understandably hyped, highlights of the album. Utilizing his producer credentials, Leclercq calls in a team of top pop and indie artist to create some of the most lyrically moving tracks on the album. "La Lune" features the vocal talents of Dan Smith, who can be instantly recognized as the singer from Bastille. His talents are employed perfectly. Calling to mind parts of Bastille's h hit, "Pompeii", Smith pours his soul into his performance and, much like his own song, he places us above the clouds, soaring on the thermals observing both heaven and earth. A thrilling adventure indeed. Combined with Leclercq's inane ability to convey the same emotions with his music, "La Lune" is a stand out track on the album. Considered by many a single on the album, "Pay No Mind" featuring Passion Pit, is actually a powerful turning point for the album. A euphoric huzzah amidst the chaos, reminding listeners not to "Pay them any mind", a shining beacon of positivity in the over-arching theme of the album.
The latter half of the album gets a bit more mature, while keeping the vibrancy, Madeon is so well known for, the feeling becomes more introspective. The FIFA anthem, “Imperium” kicks of the second half of the track, with a more mature sound of the Madeon we have known for years. Employing some familiar techniques as heard on, “Cut the Kid” and even a few homages to 8-bit gaming, this bass-beat driven track doesn’t stand out, but it certainly makes an impact. “Zephyr” utilizes a much softer sound to invoke a soft wind carrying away lowly thoughts on a warm spring day. What is even more impressive is that”Zephyr” is one of the tracks Leclarcq sings on. He brings forth a passion that stays until the final chord drifts away.
“Nonsense” featuring Foster the People’s Mark Foster, is a hopelessly fun and uplifting, however, introspective take on a love song. Foster’s voice captivates with the indie-rock style he is so well known for, that is paralleled by a ubiquitous hopeful sound that Leclarcq has dancing around. It stands out against the final part of the album, allowing one to place the point where Leclarcq was in production. The finale of the album can be separated into the three final songs. “Innocence” featuring Aquilo, “Pixel Empire”, and “Home”. Each song imparts onto the listener three different emotions that strike on multiple fronts. It is suggested you make your own conclusions on each of these songs, but it must be said that this is one hell of a way to end and album.
For all intents and purposes, “Home” is the cultivation of everything Leclarcq has worked towards as Madeon. Past, present, and future collide as Leclarcq shows off his impressive vocal range. Eliciting strong emotions from the powerfully delivered chorus, shining bright in front of the scintillating and boundless track. "Home"is a solid farewell to the album, but a bright new beginning for Madeon and dance music in general. The future of Madeon isn't set in stone and he clearly wouldn't have it any other way. Leclarcq proves you don't need banger after banger to make a hit. Rather, all you need is a desire to break free from your chains and go on and Adventure.
The deluxe version of the album contains a few, well-known, previously released tracks, "Icarus", "Technicolor", "Cut the Kid", "Finale", "The City" and a new unreleased track, "Only Way Out" Featuring Vancouver Sleep Clinic.
Madeon's Adventure North American tour has kicked off - grab your tickets here.