Album Review: ODESZA’s A Moment Apart

by Ayanna Jacobs-El

ODESZA has become a huge name in the EDM world. The duo includes Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight, who met in college and started collaborating their senior year in 2012. Mills and Knight have since gone on to release three albums, one EP, sold out every one of their shows in 2015 and 2016, had a GRAMMY nomination, sold singles in the U.S. and Australia, over half a billion combined Spotify and YouTube plays, and over one billion plays on Pandora, while also achieving 29 Hype Machine #1s. I don’t know about you, but that is a very impressive list of achievements for just a five-year long music career. ODESZA isn’t showing any signs of slowing down either: they are about to embark on a U.S. and Australian tour, with some of the dates already sold out for their newest album, A Moment Apart.

The group doesn’t make the overdone, stereotypical type of EDM music that you are probably sick of hearing. Their music has a very uplifting, emotional, and atmospheric sound that, at times, doesn’t fit into one specific genre. They sometimes use lyrical samples from other cultures like on “Meridian.” In “Meridian” you can hear the trademark ODESZA sound with heavy drum and percussion layers interspersed with shimmery synths. Their songs always seem to have a nice steady build to huge drops that I bet are really awesome to experience during a live show.

Retro-soul artist Leon Bridges

Any artist who is really in line with the times knows just how important it is to have an eye-catching music video to accompany at least some or all of their songs. ODESZA does this and more by having amazing cinematography and really clever concepts for all of their music videos. On their latest release, I really like the music and video for “Across The Room,” featuring up and coming retro-soul artist Leon Bridges. The song has a beautiful nostalgic, soul feel that fits extremely well with Bridge’s husky, warm vocals. In the chorus of the song, I am getting serious Moby “In My Heart” vibes with the gospel vocal sample. The music video fits this mood to a ‘T’ by showcasing an African American family having a cookout with friends and family members of all ages. Throughout the video, Leon Bridges and various actors can be seen dancing to the music with gorgeous angles and lighting.

Completely diverging from the sound of “Across  The Room” is “La Ciudad.” This song is super-danceable and I love the beat and Indian vocal sample. ODESZA always seems to create the perfect mood with their usage of sparse vocals interspersed throughout their evolving and dynamic productions. Another track that I find really beautiful on A Moment Apart is “Just A Memory,” featuring the amazing singer-songwriter Regina Spektor (she wrote the Orange is The New Black theme song and has a ton of great songs). Her soothing vocals layered with stacked, angelic harmonies and the simple production gives me chills. I also like how the lyrics paint a vivid story about how the speaker wants her lover to come back after their breakup to fight to make the relationship work.

In the age that most EDM artists only release singles or EPs ODESZA’s A Moment Apart is a breath of fresh air. On A Moment Apart ODESZA takes listeners on an uplifting auditory journey through a myriad of sonic landscapes.

ARE YOU AN ODESZA FAN? LET US KNOW WHAT YOUR FAVORITE SONG ON A MOMENT APART WAS IN THE COMMENTS!

About the Author

Ayanna Jacobs-El
Ayanna Jacobs-El is a composer, producer, songwriter, singer, alto and baritone saxophonist, and DJ dual majoring in Contemporary Writing and Production and Professional Music with a minor in Writing for TV and New Media. You can learn more about Ayanna and hear her music by visiting www.ayannajacobsel.com.