Odesza at Koko
Odesza are all about twos. Two members dressed in matching black gear. Two sequencers in front of them. Two distinct song components with absolutely no gradient between them.
Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight do two things per song, every song. Each track starts with a spacey, cinematic verse – long piano chords, chopped and pitch-shifted vocals – before lurching into a huge EDM chorus. Sixteen bars later, the cycle starts again. Each song is a collection of drops of various sizes without much going on in between.
The band’s approach is so two-paced it’s almost like interval training: thirty seconds of slightly tedious rest, thirty seconds of discomfort. And, as with interval training, the longer it goes on, the more interminable the hard parts become, and the more you cherish the rest that separates them.
Mills’ and Knight’s manner doesn’t help much. The pair flit unnaturally between shyness and bombast in a way so typical of half-performers half-DJs. Most of the set’s best sonic moments – the crisp R’n’B keys on Say My Name, the confident hip-hop rumble of Divinity – are pre-sequenced, and happen when the band’s hands are nowhere near their equipment. That detracts quite a lot from the sense of spectacle. It doesn’t help that Mills and Knight telegraph each of the set’s hundreds of drops with a couple of bars worth pogoing beforehand.
Odesza’s visuals, unfortunately, don’t sustain interest any better than their stagecraft. An epileptic lightshow runs through a number of hackneyed images: waves breaking, inky close-ups of eyes, dervishes whirling in slow motion, Topshop-pretty models on sombre beaches. None seems to bear any relation to the songs they accompany.
There is one notable exception during Odesza’s encore. The band’s audio and visuals sync for the first time when they play an unreleased remix of Alex Adair’s Make Me Feel Better, by far the best song they play. Nasty Yeezus horns accompany a black and white loop from the original Godzilla (1954), and the monster stomps along in perfect time. The overall effect is genuinely funny – and the song sounds better paired with a suitable video. If Odesza’s team had put as much thought into the rest of their visuals as they did that last clip, the show would have been much improved.
The editorial unit
Photos: Adrian Dusman
For further information about Odesza and future events visit here.
Watch the video of Light here: