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My Ode to Odesza

Seattle duo Odesza have been blowing my mind for the last few months, since I discovered them (which unfortunately happened about two days after they played in Sydney).

Their LP In Return came out last week, and what an album it is. A mesmerising release full of intricate polyrhythms, sublime soundscapes and guest female vocals on no less than eight of the 13 tracks. Odesza have by and large created a recognisable sound that is both celestial and dance-ready, while also ensuring that no two tracks sound alike.

The album opens with Always This Late, featuring a fiesta-style beat, deep synth and tampered vocal samples. As the tracks progress we begin to notice the common features in Odesza’s music – vocal loops, vibrato-laden synth, and angelic high-octave trickles and synth flickers. They atmosphere has been really carefully layered – for every helium-high tone, there’s a deep beat or a sonorous bass just around the corner.

There’s an eastern flair to a number of their tracks too, adding a really interesting, unique flavour. Sundarafeatures what sounds like a crystalline sitar, intertwined with synthy echoes and vibrations. Next up is one of my favourites,White Lies ft. Jenni Potts. While it may not be the most bass-heavy, complex or even interesting track on the album, there’s something SO enchanting about Pott’s impossibly high vocals. An absolute stand-out track for me.

Ambient Kusangi is a serene, languid synth soundscape. A welcome, tranquil moment in a sea of beats, before gently easing our way back in through the beatific groove that is Echoes ft. Py.

Zyra’s lilt features for a second time on the sensual, melancholy It’s Only, as we head towards the final tracks.

Singles Memories That You Call (ft. Moonsiren) and Sun Models (ft. Madelyn Grant) are completely different in terms of tone and beat, and once again, I love how Odesza can go down so many roads while maintaining an identifiable sound.

Final track For Us (ft. Briana Marela)has probably the heaviest beat on the album. It’s a glowing, multi-layered track with a great groove, the perfectly bittersweet way to end the album.

What I love about this album is that not one beat, rhythm or melody seems to be repeated. There’s so much going on, but it’s coalesced into something so charming, beautiful and truly impressive. Easily in my top ten albums of the year so far, I cannot recommend it highly enough.

(I originally wrote this here)