Imagine for a moment that interstellar travel was not only possible, but widely accessible, and you could take a couple days off to explore distant planets. You’d try to find the most beautiful one, right? (Well, after you found the one most resembling Tatooine with it’s double sunsets.) If you found one that was composed of reds, pinks and purples instead of the greens, blues and browns of Earth, which supported vast forms of life and remained unspoiled by settlement or civilization.
Still with me? Seattle duo Odesza’s new album would be the soundtrack to that surreal, unsullied world. It’s a beautiful place that they’ve created, and one of the few times I go back and hit play immediately once the last song ends.
At first, “In Return” might sound like a string of fairly simple, groove-focused down-tempo tracks. But after a few listens, the songs open up, revealing a fully utilized sonic range, from grumbling low bass to wispy atmospheric tweaking in higher frequencies. The name could likely be a literal reference acknowledging this as their sophomore record, following up their debut, “Summer’s Gone” from 2012.
They’ve kept themselves quite busy in that span of time, lending their talents on remixes of Zhu, Pretty Lights and Chet Faker. Their “No Sleep” mixes clearly illustrate their musical prowess. The way they pull in and manipulate different components and samples from other songs and combine them in a new, unique mash is unmatched right now.
On their original works, their strengths are highlighted in their collaborations, featuring almost exclusively female vocalists. (The only non-female collab is with Portland-based producer Shy Girls (Yes, Shy Girls is one guy.)) Still, they manage to shape the other 7 songs with guests to fit together without pressing them into the same mold. Given their consistent mood and intentionally limited range of tempo, that’s no small feat.
This Sunday, take an interplanetary field trip with Odesza. Explore the beautiful, distant world of “In Return” with Clay and Harrison, and come back if and whenever you’re ready.