In the world of music, there has been a recent trend of hip-hop and electronic taking front and center stage. With acts such as Jay-Z and Calvin Harris being some of pop music's most well-known artists, it is clear that there has been a shift in the culture.
Based out of the Pacific Northwest, upstart band ODESZA fits into this trend and has found a way to mold both of these genres of music into a succesful marriage. On the band's new EP "My Friends Never Die," the group blends elements of electric music with traditional hip-hop instrumentals to create a unique sound that delivers on many fronts.
The first song off this five-track effort is the title track, "My Friends Never Die." It begins with a sped up sample of an indie song reminiscent of an instrumental from the early 2000s era of hip-hop combined with traditional electronic effects. This song sets the tone for the direction of the entire album by making the boldest statement on the entire project.
After multiple listens, one cannot distinguish whether this song could be an instrumental from an A$AP Rocky album or if it is a song that could be played during a set at a Skrillex concert. This mystery shows the true beauty of the entire project due to the fact that ODESZA was not afraid to take chances.
In an age now where traditional hip-hop artists such as Kanye West are working with groups such as Daft Punk to create genre-bending music, this song would fall right in line with this type of experimentation.
The second track is more of a traditional hip-hop beat with few electric effects. This song is one of the more disappointing tracks from the album due to the lack of variety involved in it. The song is generic and sounds like it could have been on any undiscovered producer's SoundCloud.
The album picks back up on the third track "Without You." Even though this still does not contain any of the electric qualities found in the first track, it is just as risky. This song finds a way to combine multiple sped-up samples of other songs to create a pieced together hook that flows together. This track shows that the band could create a more traditional hip-hop instrumental and yet still have the same feel that their other music has.
The fourth song, "Home," is a refreshing break from the type of sampling the group had previously been using on their album. This Houston-influenced slower beat is one of the standouts on the entire project due not only to the slowed down sample, but also the drums. The drums on this track are all over the place, yet strike at the perfect moments.
The fifth and final track on the EP pulls from the inspiration that was generated creating the title track and goes back to more genre combining music.
Titled "Keep Her Close," this song contains strong elements of both hip-hop and electric, the type of elements that set the band apart from the rest of the unsigned groups on a demo and a computer. This song again contains the sped-up sample that is somewhat the signature of the group, yet it also contains various horns and sound effects generally found in electric music.
Overall, "My Friends Never Die" was a quality second effort from a band with massive potential. If ODESZA continues to grow and build on the foundation they have created, this band could become a more recognizable name in music in the near future.