ICYMI TRACK REVIEW // happysadmedium - Clear Page, Clean Slate

With a gene pool from the UK but born and raised in Austria, songwriter/producer Max Hustwick, who goes by the artist persona happysadmedium, came to Liverpool in 2018 to pursue his passion for bedroom producing at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. By no means a virtuoso in any given instrument, he creates a sonic scenery through simple yet effective songwriting and production methods.

Max, like many other producers his age, idolizes artists such as Frank Ocean, and James Blake. Relying heavily on the modern mediums that allow musicians to create and write songs from the comfort of their laptop, it is not possible to place Max􏰀s music in any one box and each production will walk you through a different landscape, all part of the same universe. Each song is pleasing in its originality, yet with a familiar thread of his voice and carefully chosen sounds and melodies.

Max endeavours to spark an emotional response and to give the listener a feeling of comfortable melancholy and escapism. His songs, like the project name suggests, contain a universal sentiment of the feelings that range from happy to sad and everything in between.

Clear Page, Clean Slate describes the transition from adolescence to the promising fresh start of adulthood. The feeling of finally having grown into one's skin and feeling confident to be able to take on any challenges that your twenties might throw at you.

The record was co-produced in 2017 with Max􏰀’s sister, Katy Hustwick, who graduated LIPA in the same year. The song features backing vocals both from Katy and Max􏰀’s mother. The song was released today! 22nd October 2019 which is Katy􏰀’s birthday.

When I first listened to the song, I was gripped by the atmosphere. It had such a wide scape to it, the lush harmonies rising around you. I felt like I’d been teleported to a tropical island, the sun starting to rise and Max’s husky voice, heavy. He sounds so mature and his vocals feel like they hold 1000 stories.

The record is reminiscent of Alt J and has the breezy elements of a Kwassa track. Clear Page, Clean Slate begins with a dreamy hazy guitar that paves the way for Max to tell his story.

The overall tone and warmth of the track are familiar but still feels so new and different, unique in its own way. You can hear his influences, but he’s really put his own spin on it giving you the in between or the medium if you will.

The song to me felt extremely hopeful and lovely. The production is exceptional, obviously! I especially love how he’s involved his family, sharing that part of his life and putting it out there for all to hear. They certainly won’t be disappointed.

The song doesn’t have a specific piece of percussion keeping time, giving the song a fluid, floaty sort of feel. It had a water-like vibe around it, especially when the sea sound effect was a lot more noticeable.

The sound effect of the sea in the background really helps to get you in the mind frame of the tropical island, when the track ended I was shocked and it was because I wanted to hear more. I wanted to see where we were going next. Max, you’ve smashed this song.

If you’re happy, sad or medium you’ll surely enjoy this track! ;)

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