Odd Nosdam

David P. Madson was born deep in the Reader's Digest belt of middle America—Cincinnati, Ohio—in the bicentennial year of 1976 to a Catalonian belly dancer and a farm-raised Iowan engineer. Just the kind of auspicious incongruity needed to promise a life free of predictability. He played trumpet in elementary school and hoops on Porkopolis side streets, drew constantly and skateboarded in between, but it was an unassuming plastic rectangle that stole his heart in eighth grade...after he stole it (a copy of De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising) from a house party.

A young Odd Nosdam began meddling with machines in the mid- ’90s, looping his favorite Nirvana riffs and Black Moon beats on a Sega Genesis and filling tapes with noise collage. In his early 20s, his visual fixations brought him to the Art Academy of Cincinnati, where he studied fine art and photography, while his more recent aural obsession necessitated a Dr. Sample and a Tascam cassette 8track. Here, a new romance began with fellow found souls Doseone and WHY?, as well as a fertile run of projects and tapes sound-designed by Nosdam (Greenthink, Reaching Quiet, Plan 9) that culminated in cLOUDDEAD’s hallowed eponymous debut. His work there done, David dropped out of art school, left home in March of 2001, and relocated to the Oakland Bay Area Anticon settlement.

For five years Odd Nosdam was Anticon’s art director (establishing the look of the label by designing album art, clothing, posters and ads) and to this day he’s the collective’s in-house audio advisor (arranging, engineering, mixing or otherwise contributing to records by Sole, Jel, Telephone Jim Jesus, Sage Francis, WHY?, Dosh and Thee More Shallows). In 2002, Nosdam released No More Wig for Ohio—a collection of beats and mini-opuses recorded in the so-called short-attention-span style—and hence, the methods of a modern maestro of collage were revealed. His is a sound that emerges from the many intersecting lines of chance, wonder, and dedication. Ever the dirty-fingered vinyl junkie, he scours dumpsters, thrift stores, swap meets and yard sales across the U.S. and Europe for long-forgotten musical duds, keeps his Dictaphone handy should a choice field recording present itself, and hones his own capabilities to create inspired moments with occasional live instrumentation. And the results are devastatingly good.

To wit, 2005’s fuzz, dub and hop masterpiece, Burner is as strikingly visual as music comes—a feat David achieves by alternately fine-tuning and fucking up his found sounds via an arsenal of samplers (E-mu Systems’ SP-1200, Akai MPC2000, Boss’ SP-202 Dr. Sample), the inimitable tape warmth and imprecision of his 8-track, and the exactness of ProTools. Thusly, Nosdam pays homage to his greatest influences (Prince Paul, Flying Saucer Attack, Lee "Scratch" Perry, and Hood) while eschewing imitation.

The last few years have found Odd Nosdam riding high on the crest of hard work and good happenstance. The wild acclaim garnered by cLOUDDEAD’s genre-flouting amalgam of droney wash, surreal wordage and rich sampledelica led to two Peel Sessions for the group, an unforgettable date in Tel Aviv opening for Mad Professor, and one final album: 2004’s pop-perverse Ten. In 2005 Nosdam and Jel wrapped a collaboration with the legendary Mike Patton for his radio-noir project, Peeping Tom. And 2006 saw David continuing his ongoing short-attention span series with the self-released Vol. 8, and joining the ranks of the select few who’ve remixed the work of pioneering electronicists Boards of Canada.

These days, David indulges his inner musicologist by DJing at Bay Area bars and galleries, draws compulsively (cultivating an ultra-dense abstract style beginning to creep its way into art shows), and in 2007 composed the score for Element Skateboards’ video, This is My Element. In 2007, Anticon released Level Live Wires, Odd Nosdam’s latest album-length foray into dynamic audio collage and composition. 2008 celebrated the release of Pretty Swell Explode, an enhanced two-disc collection (one album, one EP) of remixes, B-sides, videos and original songs, featuring Boards Of Canada, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Serena Maneesh, Jessica Bailiff, Bracken, Thee More Shallows, and more.