In an era when it feels that anyone with a computer and some spare time can create their own music, music identity is becoming increasingly hard to create and develop. For Seattle’s own Odesza, this concept seemed to come together overnight. Through Summer’s Gone and In Return, Odesza made a name for themselves through a unique fusion of EDM and pop.
Drawing from Asian themes and Bonobo-like tones, while expanding this into a seemingly atmospheric sound, the music proved to be utterly mesmerizing. A couple studio sessions and a few years later we’re given A Moment Apart. As expected, Odesza takes us on a journey through the album that, at times, felt as if I were staring off the top of a mountainside, thrown onto a Spanish dance floor, or watching a rocket launch in the distance.
However, at the end of the album I sat and thought to myself “What just happened, where did the Odesza I loved go?” Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight introduce us to their third album with an excerpt from the movie Another Earth.
A woman tells the story of the first man to enter space, she talks about how enamored he was with the earth from there; until he realized he was completely alone other than being accompanied by a paced clicking sound. She portrays how the man is about to lose his mind until he realizes that the only way to keep from insanity is to “Fall in love with the sound”.
Instantly it clicks- Odesza isn’t making the music they already have, they’re pushing into worlds previously unexplored by themselves. It is almost as if each separate song enters a new piece of odesza. On one of my personal favorites, “Boy”, you can hear Odesza laying down beautiful synth tones over the top of aggressive, and punchy bass lines. “A Moment Apart” feels to me like it belongs at the end of a Christopher Nolan film with a beautiful mix of delicate vocals set over violin crescendos.
Of course there are still the pop hits and cinematic sounds that we have come to know and love like “Higher Ground” and “Line of Sight”, yet on a whole this is a different sounding album. Odesza showcases not only their unique sound, but also their continuing maturity as artists, with music that seems to transcend genre boundaries. Odesza flaunts some pop, electronic, and dance hits; as well as new influences throughout the work.
In the end this album isn’t what we expected, at all, but it still has all of the original components that we came to love in Odesza as listeners, plus some. To the same degree as past albums? Of course not, but there’s still a lot to like here.
It might not provide the biggest pop hits of the year, or the best EDM songs you’ve heard, but instead provides listeners with an album that is just flat out listenable. It has something for everyone, and something that everyone can appreciate, which to me is more important than any one hit single might be.