Hailing from Hollywood, CA, the boy-girl electronic duo Mad Planet combines downtempo grooves, electronics, expressionistic lyrics and scratching into a mellow rock atmosphere to create a throbbing, nearly trip-hop aesthetic—electronic music that avoids being “chilly.” With Cooper Gillespie on vocals and bass, and Greg Gordon on drums, Mad Planet is a synthesis of several veins of music—a little bit of jazz, a little bit of electronic music, even a little hip-hop.
Mad Planet was formed when Gillespie and Gordon were bartending together at a club in Hollywood and decided to form a band. Despite both being in punk-rock groups, Gillespie and Gordon fleshed out a sound that had beats, sequencers and focused more on songcraft than propulsion. There was a learning curve, Gillespie says, but it “was worth it. Electronic music is exciting because the possibilities of what can be created are endless.”
In 2010, the duo released its debut LP, All Elephants. The album is characterized by a plethora of confident grooves, big bass, vocal samples, scratching and Gillespie’s alternately declarative and breathy vocals, which add a significant amount of atmosphere to the proceedings. “Sunset Boulevard” is the sound of dubby rock run through the Orb’s classic “Little Fluffy Clouds,” with Gloria Swanson quotes coloring the background. Oh, then the entire song escalates into a thunderous climax. It’s all quite adventurous and pretty catchy too.
Live, Mad Planet recreates its studio sound with sequences on a laptop and the addition of Tony Crouse, who plays guitar and did the scratching that colors All Elephants. “It’s pretty rocking’,” Gillespie said. The band is now working on its sophomore LP, which, in Gillespie’s words, has “Got deep grooves, lush synths, euphoric guitars and haunting vocals.” After that are plans to tour Australia, China, and the UK next year.
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