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August/September 2014

by Sammy Jay Dawson

Fresh Talent: Odyssey

by Sammy Jay Dawson

Fresh Talent: Odyssey

There must be something quite potent percolating in the water supply of Christchurch if it can birth such kaleidoscopic cocktail of hi-tech hip hop, such as Odyssey.
As you hear the trio breathe new life into tired, outdated and stagnant genres from every corner of electronic past, you’’ll scratch your head wondering what the hell the rest of the city are drinking. The three piece’’s ‘universe-within-a-song’’ sound stems from ‘button pusher’ Kurt Preston’‘s Ableton-based production, but truly becomes something special once drummer Jed Parsons and rhyme-smith MC Aeries are added into the mix.
“Originally it was sample-based. Nowadays any sort of groove or baseline can trigger an idea,” ” says Preston.
Jed Parsons’’ original idea of production meets live drumming, may sound far removed from the world of hip hop, but it is the solid rhymes and confronting verses of Ben Kahu, aka MC Aeries, that give Odyssey its most human and relatable aspect.
“The first time we did a show the guys had about 10 songs ready to play, so I just applied verses from the vault,”” says Kahu.
The man who he describes as ‘the fishmonger’’ was introduced to the band via Mrs Parsons, who discovered her door-to-door fish merchant was a rapper.
“Rage Against The Machine talked a lot of politically inspiring stuff, and no-one shot them in the face… it’’s inspiring,”” Kahu jokes.
In terms of influences, nothing seems surprising, each new listen revealing a different artist.
“Dre’’s early ’’90’s stuff, production-wise, were huge for me,”” Preston admits. “In fact ‘’90s hip hop in general. Of course there’’s new stuff like Flying Lotus too.””
As well as a steady flow of gigs in Christchurch and further north, Odyssey are nearing completion on their debut EP. Featuring tracks such as 1st Impressions and Round The World, the self-produced release promises to capture the band’s live intensity and energy, while expanding on their ever growing backbone of power beats, and often confronting lyrics.
“There’’s a lot of genuine interest from the bNets, which is cool,”” says Parsons. “We have our first radio slot next week on RDU, for their Live Sessions. Mainstream radio might ask who we are for like, a year, with a bit of luck.””
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