I recently got a chance to catch ODESZA at the Joy Theater in New Orleans after Voodoo Fest this past weekend, and that was it. I'm a super fan.
I've been paying some attention to what they have been doing but not nearly enough attention. That's the problem when you get bombarded with 1000's of emails a week pushing new music to you; you sometimes miss the most important artists.
However, there is something nice about discovering an artist at your own pace, it for some reason has more impact when you hear it with virgin ears and no press release. It's a raw and unexpected experience.
ODESZA does everything right; their performance is simple but impactful with tastefully crafted LED imagery to weave you into their musical silk. They play side by side and use midi percussion to bring some humanness to the beats they are playing. Their silhouettes against the vivid lights raising their drumsticks to the beats provides a simple satisfaction, two drum majors in the darkness.
They don't get on the mics like D grade hype men, they just simply say hello and let their music speak. They fill the room with sonic honey leaving the crowd stuck to the floor swaying to every beat they deliver; almost no one moved the entire performance.
Earlier in the evening I caught Jack U, which was the opposite type of performance. Skrillex and Diplo just yelling into mics and fabricating their next drop and then the next and then the next. While the music was good in spots, the performance lost me so many times I just ended up walking away.
ODESZA wouldn't let me leave; they brought me on a trip much like the experience of going to a top restaurant and doing the chef's tasting menu. You just can't wait for the next dish to come, and the next, they build anticipation slowly while Jack U just winds you up and lets you down kind of like a drunk trip to Taco Bell.
ODESZA reminds me of the greats of the 90s and early 00s, guys like Orbital, The Chemical Brothers, The Orb, Leftfield, Groove Armada, etc. They make dance music, but they also make songs that can stand alone, they are excellent at all tempos and their production is unique and fresh.
This Seattle duo is no doubt going to be one of the acts remembered in the great second wave of electronic music as many others fade away. You will go back to your music collection (or playlists if you still have them saved) in 2026 and think to yourself, these guys... these guys changed everything.