Last year’s self-titled EP from Mahr (pronounced like “mare”), aka Madison-based producer Nicole Wilson, landed among our top Madison records of 2016. The record’s six tracks explore ambient music and techno with a touch that’s a bit eerie but also a bit bright, combining synths and percussion samples with scratchy organic sounds. It’s an approach that stems from a wide-ranging musical background: Wilson spent a few years living and DJing in Chicago and hosted a recurring club night at now-departed Madison club Inferno, but her work also reaches into other corners, including an interest in black metal.
Mahr will be opening up a show that we at Tone Madison are hosting, on March 19 at Arts + Literature Laboratory, with Chicago band Sun Speak and Madison saxophonist/electronics manipulator Tony Barba. Since the EP’s release, Wilson has been working on projects for the two labels she runs and putting out new tracks on SoundCloud, several of which find her exploring more of that metal influence and incorporating her voice in ways that range from soft atmospherics to black-metal screeches.
Wilson sat down with me recently for a conversation about some highlights of last year’s EP and the ongoing experimentation that informs Mahr.