By Joseph Sutton-Holcomb / Special to The Seattle Times
Sometimes, getting skeptical music fans excited about an EDM band is an incredible hassle. With this genre especially, the listening experience changes drastically based on context. The newest EP by production duo Odesza — called “My Friends Never Die” — might sound repetitive if played through a laptop for people chilling distractedly on a living room couch.
But add some lights and a beefy system, and incredible intricacies emerge within Harrison Mills’ and Clayton Knight’s tracks. In the right setting, their project becomes one of the best Seattle up-and-comers.
Although once a band tours with EDM deity Pretty Lights and sells out two back-to-back shows at Neumos, perhaps it’s time to ditch the “up-and-comer” label. There’s money and fame in dance music these days, and although Mills and Knight have only been working together since 2012, they seem destined to achieve both in spades.
Though the band has historically released its music for free at odesza.com, it is building a platform for longterm success.
So both musically and financially, Odesza is rave music at its most accessible. They deliver the drops without the screechy edge associated with the dubstep side of things. The result is electronica fortified by enormous sweeping bass lines which gently but firmly demand dancing. This is a thin but important line to walk when the point of one’s set is to get people to shake it.
They also have several songs, which sport the bouncy production style characteristic of house music.
Heavily modulated vocal samples are another fixture of Odesza’s sound. These melodic elements are often tweaked and teased until the original source becomes difficult to recognize. Frequently, they’ll speed up the tracks in a manner most people associate with Kanye’s production style.
Vocals are obviously not the main focus of their tracks, but they add to the interest level, especially during the chilled-out interludes without which the universally revered drop could not exist.
Summarily, what sets Odesza apart is a flexible grandiosity. Skipping from track to track, listeners can observe multiple electronic influences (house, dubstep, trance, etc.) all bound together by the duo’s slow, calculated build-ups toward magisterial bass spasms. It’s easy to enjoy, but difficult to pin down.
Odesza plays at 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 12 and 13, at Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., Seattle; sold out (206-709-9467 or www.neumos.com).