Madlene's jammed or improvised output blurs the line between fantasy and fear, drawing occasionally upon the symbolism of the saxophone - in the band's side-project "Madlene's Sax Trip." In Russian jazz traditions the saxophone has always had a troubled status, associated by the Stalinist establishment, for example, with an alien (American) influence that should be absent from "orderly" social culture. The sounds of personal passion - or anxiety, in fact - had no place in the collective.
Madlene's arguably formless - and often cacophonous - instrumentals are located in this realm or disjuncture between selfhood and surrounding reality. One recent composition, by way of illustration, is called: "Everything Is So Slow. Even the Stars, Even the Sky." Related titles such as "Marionette," "Mask," and "Whirligig" only strengthen the imagery of disorientation. Private experience yearns to move beyond tedious normality - yet is unnerved by what's found there - in a realm of "jazz nightmares." Experimentation is both an object of desire and of concern.