Production duo ODESZA have made a stir in the electronic music scene. The duo consists of Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight, who go by CatacombKid and BeachesBeaches, respectively. They’re no strangers to the music festival circuit, even ending their spring tour this year by playing Coachella.
If I were to describe their sound, I would say it’s fantasy video game background music infused with funky R&B rhythms. Embellished melodies can be heard ringing throughout In Return, their new album, as they accent the booming beats, creating an ethereal ambiance. Their style lies on the lighter side of electronic music. Many songs are instrumental only, but guest vocalists are featured on some of the tracks. Singers that appear are Zyra, Shy Girls, Jenni Potts, Py, Monsoonsiren, Madelyn Grant, and Briana Marela.
Starting the album with “Always This Late,” the smoothness of the track instantly charms you, setting the mood for what’s to follow. Vocal contributor Zyra first appears on “Say My Name,” a song that merges groovy R&B beats with glimmering synths. “Sundara” is a standout on the record due to its evident Eastern influences. With an underlying slow beat that is embellished by bells and chimes, “Kusanagi” is best described as tranquil because of its sounds of nature and childlike vocals. First single off the new release is “Sun Models,” which is fun, danceable, and catchy due to the hook provided by Madelyn Grant.
The best thing is the fact that they aren’t just beats and synths thrown together; the music is actual art. The approach taken by ODESZA is refreshing; the use of unexpected elements such as nature, R&B beats, and worldly influences gives it distinguishable qualities, while remaining true to the core characteristics of the genre. In Return exemplifies an interesting time in the evolution of electronic music.