In order to create, you first have to exit the darkness. Seize those first notes and let them run wild. Accept that you won’t master them right away. To catch the void that leads to everything, Madjo chose to return to the beginning.
The origin is the house she grew up in, the “Madjo Villa” in Evian-les-Bains, France, next to Lake Geneva. Madjo is a contraction of Madeleine and Joseph, the former homeowners. It’s also where her grandparents and her parents lived and spread stories of their family, those that are spoken of and others as well. Within the walls of Mad & Jo, she collected recording equipment and instruments to transform those secret, shapeless stories into music. This is result of her conversations with its bricks and mortar; sounds that strike and reverberate, rhythms that call out emergencies, a fugitive’s music to escape being placed in a cage.
The origin is also the basic essence and nothing more than that. We first met Madjo with her phenomenal debut album, “Trapdoor” (Casablanca/Universal), and her magnetic voice overflowing with soul. On “Invisible World”, the singer decided to plant her climbing pick into calcium-rich stone. Far away from Paris and its record labels, she dug and swept away in an attempt to touch the heart that this new album reveals. Within it, we find unspoken monologues, a girl who would love to be able to speak with her father, an immobile body that has only its memories to escape to, and family stories that we never speak of.
The origin is also being on stage. Madjo spent three years on the road playing, sharpening, purifying her music to the bone. An alpinist at heart, she sings with her entire body and seizes the moorings with a voice hung so high and suspended in emptiness. Alongside musician/beatboxer Julien Vasnier, sound engineer Julien Bar, and multi-instrumentalist Boro Tripcevic, she chisels these songs and invites the souls of Björk, Nina Simone and Fiona Apple to come together in the French Alps.
“Invisible World” seems to come directly out of the mountains and carries with it foreign acoustics and inaudible murmurs that resonate in the crevasses of its stones. It’s here where the compass points to, and Madjo constructs, from foundation to rooftop, her invisible world.
(Translated by John Brunner)