Odyssey 5ive - "Looking Backwards, Moving Forward" (Self released CD-R)
From Aural Innovations #19 (April 2002)
This is the debut CD from Detroit based musician Michael Kirson Godapper, and it basically falls into the category of retro synth pop. It's very spacey and the music is heavily indebted to the lush, spacious style of the just post Barrett era Pink Floyd, but also draws heavily from early 80's synth pop, especially in the use of effects laden vocals. This actually turns out to be the one problem I have with this record - the use of the dreaded vocoder, which, just in case you are unfamiliar, makes those robot sounding vocals that are so popular in dance music. While the music is uniformly good throughout all of the songs on this release, the vocoder-heavy vocals on the "Hard Life", "Show Me", and especially "Breaking Free" are just hard to take, pushing the songs into a retro kitsch territory that I just can't abide. It is a very one dimensional effect, and it's overuse really drags these songs down. There is also a bit of a groove-dance music thing going on in some of these tracks. Not to get too harsh, but I just have very little tolerance for the kitschyness that is present in a lot of dance music, but if you like that sort of thing then you may not have a problem. Mileage may vary, as they say. Other tracks, such as the "Shelter" and "Turn of the Day" remind me a great deal of the group Air, based on my limited listening experience (the soundtrack to The Virgin Suicides), and are very nicely done. My faves are probably the last couple of tracks. "Love's Departure" features a spoken (sampled?) vocal over droning keyboards and a straightforward (non dance) drum track, finally ending with an echoey vocal coda. This is followed by the instrumental, "Godspeed", which is a little reminiscent of a more rock-oriented Tangerine Dream. Overall this a good listen, and really very accessible. Just ditch the vocoder! Please!
For more information you can visit the Odyssey 5ive Mp3.com web site at: http://www.mp3.com/odyssey_5ive. There are LOADS of sound files there.
Email Odyssey 5ive at: Odyssey5ive@aol.com.
Reviewed by Brian Faulkner