Odd Couple - Chatterbox

I have never really been a fan of beat tapes. Mainly because after listening to someone like Flying Lotus put together worlds solely with beats – essentially Beethoven with a computer – it’s been hard to find anything that didn’t sound utterly repetitive or just bland. It’s probably because I try to see them for more than what they are – just beat tapes. Still, along have come a few artists who strive to do more than just create a few catchy little beats that please you for a fleeting moment before you keep scrolling through your Soundcloud feed. Some artists hone their craft and try to bring what they can to the beat scene by creating cohesive works wherein the songs flow seamlessly into one another like a story because they refuse to be dismissed. I don’t really like beats, but it’s important to recognize impressive art when you are exposed to it. Chatterbox, the debut full-length album by producer Odd Couple has been long-awaited by the Bombay Knox team. The album opens up with “Awake” in a manner reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s “Time” – with the most piercing clock noise ringing out through the air after a brief silence and you immediately realize where the song got its namesake. The track just feels like morning bliss (something im very unfamiliar with). It makes you feel like you woke up with a purpose, trying to do something energetic or positive. You can hear Eastern influences halfway through as the woodblocks so delicately create ripples in the landscape. The second track presents a darker, more serious take on the previously visited concept as Michael Christmas surfs the beat talking about the proceedings of his day as he ponders life with some interesting observational skills. It feels like his adlib voice represents his thoughts running wild just like his lyrics are saying they are, making for some funny one-liners.

I have never really been a fan of beat tapes. Mainly because after listening to someone like Flying Lotus put together worlds solely with beats – essentially Beethoven with a computer – it’s been hard to find anything that didn’t sound utterly repetitive or just bland. It’s probably because I try to see them for more than what they are – just beat tapes. Still, along have come a few artists who strive to do more than just create a few catchy little beats that please you for a fleeting moment before you keep scrolling through your Soundcloud feed. Some artists hone their craft and try to bring what they can to the beat scene by creating cohesive works wherein the songs flow seamlessly into one another like a story because they refuse to be dismissed. I don’t really like beats, but it’s important to recognize impressive art when you are exposed to it. Chatterbox, the debut full-length album by producer Odd Couple has been long-awaited by the Bombay Knox team.

The album opens up with “Awake” in a manner reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s “Time” – with the most piercing clock noise ringing out through the air after a brief silence and you immediately realize where the song got its namesake. The track just feels like morning bliss (something im very unfamiliar with). It makes you feel like you woke up with a purpose, trying to do something energetic or positive. You can hear Eastern influences halfway through as the woodblocks so delicately create ripples in the landscape. The second track presents a darker, more serious take on the previously visited concept as Michael Christmas surfs the beat talking about the proceedings of his day as he ponders life with some interesting observational skills. It feels like his adlib voice represents his thoughts running wild just like his lyrics are saying they are, making for some funny one-liners.

I wasn’t feeling the third track, “Glass Up”. Production-wise, he made some odd artistic choices as the pensive vibraphone riff rang through your ears only to be contrasted by this very upbeat drum sequence. It also felt like Allan Kingdom, although a noteworthy feature, was trying to do some vocal experimentation and it didn’t work out too well. It felt forced. My feelings quickly changed with the fourth track though; I just loved the space that he spent a good minute creating with various instruments only to have the percussion come in and bounce around in the massive atmosphere that he created for himself. Watch out for that Taylor Bennett feature in the 5th track also as he slowly steps out of his brother’s shadow, despite sounding astonishingly similar.

“We Cool” is basically a showcase of the producer’s sampling skills and they’re impressive. So much shit is going on and you’re trying to keep track of it all and it’s exciting. I spent a decent half hour trying to figure out what the vocal sample was from. When was the last time someone sampled Charles Hamilton? When I got to “Danger” though the sound went vertical. It started in a fashion similar to the other songs – super upbeat, very energetic and then it took off. Literally just on a spaceship with these little synths tickling as everything just kind of calmed down and gave you a moment to breathe and just float. The vocoder was also just fantastic. The only people I can think of that manage to use it to equal effect are Daft Punk and Roger Troutman. 

hings start to slow down as we move into the 9th and 10th tracks as they experiment heavily with gospel and synthpop influences, respectively. The album takes one final upbeat turn for “ChillyChilly” before heading to it’s closer, “Fly”. The song talks about being uplifted by song and prayer – and it really is an uplifting song as the piano melody dances along over a passionate guitar solo and this spacious background synth. The only way to go is up as Odd cCouple nods one final time at the importance of chasing your dream. 

Throughout the project it’s very clear where each of the producer’s respective influences brush the pieces just enough to create this hybrid of several seemingly disparate genres. As Odd Couple experiments with soul, electronic music, hip-hop, blues and gospel it’s obvious that the artist is still trying to find himself musically but, naturally, that is what must happen in the pursuance of artistry. At times the direction of the work may feel a bit scattered but who cares? It’s always dope to see people try new things in their musical experiments - it leaves more room for growth and creativity. With this solid first effort under his belt, it's likely that you'll want to keep eyes on this dude.

 

Download the tape here.

 

 

- Wadood