Madteo (aka Matteo Ruzzon) is the perpetual outsider. An Italian producer who moved to New York City in the mid '90s during the tail end of hip-hop's golden age, he's been surreptitiously sending strange electronic missives to the fringes of underground house, techno, and hip-hop for over a decade. Everything he does skews outside of typical industry expectations and is imbued with an otherness that's by turns puckish and sinister. That includes this new hybrid beast, Confessions of a Permanent Alien Opium Beater.
Somewhere between a Dadaistic mixtape, a surreal audio collage sourced from his record collection, and sporadic interjections from Madteo's own storehouse of outlandish and intriguing productions, this 79-minute journey reveals the man's freewheeling rigor in the studio. Early on, a stoic woman intones, “We are like-minded individuals, sharing a common vision, pushing toward a world rid of color lines,” which serves as Madteo's musical mission statement for what is simultaneously a critique and a celebration of his adopted country. A cavalcade of surprising voices—a profane child, a militant pro-black poet, an eccentric “millionaire,” a woman under demonic possession, etc.—weaves in and out of abstract, unsettling, spacey electronic music that at times recalls DJ Spooky's similarly eerie and cryptic 1995 mix Necropolis: The Dialogic Project.
Prone to glitching, rhythmic ruptures, and end-times bass frequencies, Confessions surfs quark-infested waters with hallucinogenic logic. Fragmentation rules everything around Madteo. You will hear—among other things—Adderall-addled Danny Brown raps subsumed by mutant techno, radio ads for trance-blues masters Canned Heat, riveting noise-techno merging into lopsided hiphop reminiscent of Jan Jelinek's Exposures project, the passionate folk balladry of Lucio Battisti, the glittery soul of Billy Preston, and some of the coldest and oddest electro funk ever. Throughout, Madteo flaunts baffling, unprecedented sounds arranged in confounding configurations.
Confessions of a Permanent Alien Opium Beater is another crucial piece of a discography from one of music's most fascinating enigmas, a celestial lysergic jukebox that conjures new pleasures and deeper mysteries with each listen.