Inspired by the space disco of Sheila B. Devotion, the P-funk of George Clinton and the sampling techniques of the Chicago dance scene, the French house movement has produced an endless supply of loop-filtering duos (Cassius, Modjo, Galleon) since Daft Punk’s ground-breaking Homework in the mid-90s.
But considering David Guetta and Bob Sinclar have all but abandoned their roots in favour of rubbing shoulders with pop royalty, 18-year-old Hugo Pierre Leclercq, aka Madeon, is the only notable vocal-chopping, funk-filtering and bass-squelching maestro currently flying solo.
Over 12 million YouTube viewers have already witnessed what he can do on the Novation Launchpad, a 64-button ‘music controller’ which allows even the most fledgling of knob-twiddlers to mix other artists’ work. Indeed, sampling everything from ELO’s “Mr Blue Sky” to Kylie Minogue’s “Wow,” Pop Culture’s brilliantly inspired mash-up of 39 diverse tracks makes The Avalanches’ cut-and-paste approach to recording appear positively mundane.
It’s a trick he repeated again for a minimix assembled exclusively for Annie Mac’s show on BBC Radio 1, one of his most high-profile champions. Only this time he upped the ante considerably, cramming 93 songs, ranging from ABC’s “The Look Of Love” to Muse’s “Hysteria” into an unashamedly hyperactive five-minute whirlwind of noise.
Madeon’s remixing skills may have helped to guide his journey from bedroom DJing obscurity to Coachella-performing, Swedish House Mafia-supporting and So You Think You Can Dance-soundtracking fame, particularly his competition-winning reworking of Pendulum’s “The Island,” which led to similar gigs on singles by Deadmau5 (“Raise Your Weapon”), Yelle (“Que Veux-Tu”) and Martin Solveig (“The Night Out”).
But far from the one-trick pony his rather gimmicky viral hits may suggest, Madeon’s own material is just as intriguing. Early releases such as the vocodered chillwave of “Gold” and the Sonic The Hedgehog-meets-Justice electro of “For You” showed potential. However, it’s the tracks from his upcoming as-yet-unnamed E.P. which prove he’s capable of realising that potential, from the shimmering nu-disco of “Shuriken,” to the swirling funky prog of “Icarus,” to the emphatic dubstep of “Finale,” the latter of which features a rare vocal courtesy of Walk The Moon’s Nicholas Petricca.
At the forefront of the newly-christened ‘mad maximalist’ scene whilst still in his teens, it would take a brave man to bet against Madeon reaching superstar DJ status before he reaches his twenties.