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Odesza At Amoeba, Monday September 22nd 2014, Reviewed

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Amoeba has more and more shows this fall and I guess I should plant my bed in the store, between the CD rows, it would be easier to get to the front each time. On Monday night, the electronic duo Odesza (probably more google-friendly than Odessa) was having an in-store to celebrate the release of their new album ‘In Return’ and I had never heard of them, contrarily to all these people waiting outside… life repeats and repeats itself many times, doesn’t it? How are so many bands able to drain such a big follow up without me being aware of their existence? Odesza attracted a young crowd, and many of these kids were not even familiar with the Amoeba store, meaning it wasn’t the usual crowd… I could tell from their conversations that some of them were there for the first time… me? I know every cd bin of that place.

As Odesza is part of the EDM scene, I was not really surprised of my ignorance (you don’t see me much hanging out at Lightning In A Bottle or HARD festivals) but you also have to know that Odesza has built a large follow up very very fast. They were unknown not very long ago but just look at these numbers: 15 million SoundCloud streams, at an average of 500,000 per week, and 7.5 million Spotify plays, no wonder there were so many people!

Shortly after 6 pm, Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight (respectively known as CatacombKid and BeachesBeaches, and I believe these guys are worst than rappers with names) took the stage to get behind their synthetic instruments and laptops, but all the beats were not coming from machines as the duo was often synchronically beating on what seemed to be electronic drums (I was far form the stage, I told you)… People were very enthusiastic (and I will go back to this soon) although the music was not extremely dance-y but consisted of a fluid ambiance of vague soaring melodic swirls, glitched-out vocals, and electronic beats. The overall result was very upbeat, sampling incomprehensible (or not) female vocals, making lots of people jump but leaving me as cold as a month of July in San Francisco. It was a bit rap-y, a bit cinematic, oh nothing spectacular, may be some adventure movie in an exotic location with Leonardo Di Caprio, or a commercial for Adidas?

Just yesterday, I was talking about music you can do your homework with, and I guess this type of music would not distract me too much,… but I take this back, people who listen to Odesza probably do not have homework, they are too cool for homework, and are busy going to Burning Man or the next EDM party. However, while I was thinking that these guys were the Kenny G of electronica (oh I may be exaggerating a bit!) people around me loved them, they were jumping and the Amoeba floor was moving, a first… It was also the first time that I saw a girl climb over the CDs bins, carried away by so much enthusiasm, and the hefty Amoeba security guards escorted a few of these overly excited people to the door, while the guy on my left was screaming ‘Odesza’ and knew the lyrics, yeah, there were lyrics sometimes sang by an invisible female, oh nothing very profound, stuff like ‘I wanna dance with you, Of yeah, oh yeah’…

The new world of electronic does not touch me whatsoever, and the music leaves me intact, may be I am old… But what do all these synthetic-dance-beats say about the human experience? That we like to balance our head, jump from one foot to another and clap? May be I am right, may be I am wrong, may be I expect too much of music.

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