Like the common hurdle faced by most, nothing can suffocate the human experience more than the repetition of the same rudimentary motions hour after hour, day after day. It’s a phenomenon the creatives amongst us are no stranger to, an obstacle faced all too often but one that – much like a hurdle – the simple overcoming of which can lead to incredible results. Somewhere born amidst this paradoxical cycle of employing creativity to yield creativity emerges the brainchild of two of this generation’s most exciting electronic acts. Enter BRONSON.
Spawned from a self-declared need to “push beyond” each others comfort zones, BRONSON rejoices as a cathartic celebration of creative renaissance. Not quite as driving as Tom Stell’s traditional Golden Features fare nor as melodic as previous offerings from ODESZA’s Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight – if Stell’s The Presets collaboration RAKA was a self-indulgent proliferation of each’s respective sound then BRONSON defiantly protests it as a symbiotic partnership of the two. It’s less an equation of multiplication as it is a subtly calculated addition of each other’s talents resulting in the duo intuitively catering to the blind spots of the other’s wheelhouse. Melodies are presented with ambiguity as simple leads are all we are given to navigate enigmatic beds of distorted bass patches, stutter-edited glitches and reverb-drenched percussion and foley – all vagaries of which lend an experimental feel unprecedented thus far in either contributor’s discography.
It’s a surprise 10-track answer that exists almost as if in response to a theoretical ‘what-if’ question posed by comic book fans about the combination of their favourite superheroes, albeit without any of the subsequent guesswork. Here we are shown the first steps of ODESZA throwing caution to the wind with heavier and darker-themed electronic implementations only touched upon with previous singles like ‘Loyal’ but now abundantly present in the form of the album’s gut-punches ‘TENSE’ and ‘KEEP MOVING’. Just as welcome is hearing Golden Features migrate to time signatures outside of his norm, as 4/4 dance-track tropes are done away with in lieu of scattered 2-step and hip-hop concepts hinted back as early as 2014 debut EP favourite ‘Factory’ but not fully capitalized until now with the evocatively emotional compositions ‘KNOW ME’ and ‘DAWN’. The result is oddly enough something of a Mr Potato Head situation, with top and bottom halves swapped to great effect. Stell readily adopts ODESZA‘s impeccable synth work and free-form approach to harmony and sample selection as he loans them his road-tested, industry-leading production and engineering ability.
Thematically, BRONSON stands as an exciting melding of Golden Features’ dystopian aesthetic permeated this time by an ODESZA-trademark optimism that is should not be confused nor ostracized but instead empowered by it’s muted identity and understated acceptance and of its dual heritage. If there’s truth in the age-old adage that collaboration is the greatest catalyst of improvement, it’s safe to say that what’s about come next will be nothing short of nuclear.
Stream: Foreign Family / Warner Music Australia
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ODESZA: Facebook | Soundcloud | Twitter | Instagram | Spotify
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