Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Shawn Biggs and Mike Gentry
Michael Tapscott lists these things as the things that he contributes to his Berkley, California-via-the-Great-Midwest band Odawas as such: keyboards, guitars, vocals, harmonicas, dry skin, songs and songs. His partner in crime, and more appropriately, partner in composition, Isaac Edwards cites a similar, yet different list: keyboards, patience, ears, beards, sounds and songs. There's a bit of overlap, but the spaces that these two wizards operate from are strikingly different and it all leads to some important and daring new music, the likes of which is concise and trippy. What they actually put into their music is so much more than the trippiness and the opened-up expressionism. There's magic and wonder and even more patience than Edwards probably would ever let on. It's of stardust and of the lands where the buffalo roam. It's bloody and it's dressed in Sunday slacks and jackets, interestingly bending and developing into and unto itself like a shapely hologram or a phantom. Tapscott and Edwards make a dynamic team of likeminded-ness that's also so far removed from any rationality, allowing both to stray in opposite directions, while still zeroing in on how to take all of those separate ideas and make them into something stretched and dried and able to fit into some kind of a frame suitable for mounting. Even in the midst of recording this session, ideas were being bounced and seen if they were going to stick to the wall or just flop off like spaghetti and meatballs, leaving just an unsightly stain behind. They attack the idea of not taking the easy way into or out of a song. They bull into the fine china cabinet and the breaking glass never comes across as breaking glass, but rather it comes across as the way the shattered pieces lie on the ground afterward Ð the reflections and rainbows that they're casting on the ceiling, the patterns and the shadings that they now form in shards. They pull all of these pieces together, hearing them click and clatter in their hands, pushing them together, tightening the crystals and making something brand new and significant. Edwards and Tapscott work so well together, making songs that sound as if they'd been burgled from an art museum with an adjacent room that doubles as an after hours dance hall. The four pieces of music that they wrote and orchestrated specifically for this particular recording session Ð filled out by a small group of musicians they'd only known a day or two, a few who had homework to do and tests to study for later that evening Ð sound anything but thrown together, instead sounding like weary thoughts about the conflictions that people find in this life, mostly involving acquaintances, leaving, staying, and all of the changing, chattering hearts that find each other through the airwaves and streams. They know exactly what they want and they get it Ð giving us songs that aspire only to be beautiful at any expense. It's mind-blowing work that gives you the kind of chills that you'd get if you were watching someone walking a tightrope hundreds of feet above the ground, without a net to save any part of them.
Odawas Official Site
Odawas MySpace Page