Sponsor

A Madison thing we’re listening to: Mahr’s “The Wretched” EP

The electronic producer and vocalist takes a darker turn.

The electronic producer and vocalist takes a darker turn.

Sponsor

Detail from the cover art of

Detail from the cover art of “The Wretched.”

Electronic artist Nicole Wilson, aka Mahr, said earlier this year that she wanted her love of black metal to play a bigger part in her music. This makes the Madison-based producer’s new EP, The Wretched, a departure from the self-titled EP she put out in 2016, one of Tone Madison‘s top 20 records of last year. That previous release had some dark moments, but let a distinctive blend of techno and ambient influences come to the fore.

On The Wretched Mahr uses gloomy synth patches, her own rasping wordless vocals, strings from Troy Schafer (of projects including Kinit Her and Devotion), guitar from Philippe Gerber, and the occasional burst of distorted noise to create a ghostly and sinister sound. (Wilson says she’d like to incorporate still more live instrumentation into her work in the future.) Even the percussion samples here sound a bit more rock-oriented and raw.


Mahr.

Mahr.

That said, the best tracks on the EP are the ones with the least prominent drums. “Hollow” uses richly layered strings and a patchwork of both clean and retching vocal sounds to place the listener somewhere between comfort and despair. “The Watcher” has the most flat-out menace of any of the EP’s five tracks, but even here, Wilson is more interested in slowly varying textures and harmonics, keeping her ambient wits about her.

“[This EP] was focused more on natural sounds such as instruments as well as a new avenue for my vocals, with a more raw outcome,” Wilson says. After last year’s self-titled EP, she says, blending atmospheric black metal into her sound “seemed to be the next natural direction for me,” and she also explored those influences earlier this year on Wounds Of Awakening, a collaborative release with Finland-based artist Utu Lautturi.

The Wretched is available on Bandcamp. Mahr does not have any live shows booked currently but is hoping to announce more dates soon.

Get your new monthly donation matched 24x!

tone madison logo in blue and yellow

At a time when Madison is going through a lot of change, we want Tone Madison to be something you can count on. You can rely on us to spotlight the artists, musicians, and ideas that make up the fabric of our city. You can rely on us to challenge the status quo with inventive, adversarial journalism, including our coverage of abortion rights, housing, and labor. 

 

But here's the thing: reader support is crucial our survival. We'll keep writing the articles you love (or love to hate) for as long as we can—but we need your help to keep our small, independent publication going.

 

If you make a new monthly donation today, NewsMatch will match it 24x! Will you help us continue to tell Madison's stories?

Maybe later

Help us give our local arts scene the attention it deserves.

Become a sustainer today and get your new monthly donation matched 24x.

This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Scroll to Top