Look at that cover. We’re going for a ride into SPACE! Andrew Odd heads off to familiar territory with Discoveries, providing eight tracks that sparkle, glimmer, and occasionally hit the thrusters. We’re not talking about groundbreaking work here, and it sometimes feels a little thin, but for me as a long-time EM listener, there’s enough well-managed nostalgia to pull me in. There are pure drifts here, as with the slow velocity of “Through the Veil.” This pad-loaded track rests on a long, low drone that is consistent throughout, while Odd raises higher notes and occasional blots of unexpected texture. A classic-sounding spacemusic track. Toward the end of the album, “New Home” is one of those let’s look at the vista pieces for about half its length, full of dramatic pads. Piano comes in, heavily echoed and creating a melodic counterpoint. It’s an interesting touch we don’t hear anywhere else on the album. For me, the real draw on Discoveries starts with “A Million Worlds” as Odd launches us toward Berlin school territory. Pulsing along on a perky sequencer bass line that lifts out of quiet chords, it picks up speed–and a fun sci-fi-soundtrack edge–as it goes. And are we maybe hearing a little Kraftwerk influence here? I think so. To my mind there’s an echo of “Autobahn” going on, especially in the bass, and it tickles my ear in a very pleasant way. It’s my favorite cut from the album. “Unknown Phenomenon” follows and runs a close second. More body-rocking bass sequencer, paired off with the whoosh of stellar wind, and then a solid, forceful drum beat drops in. As this one builds in intensity, I catch myself reaching over to turn it up. The bright, popping sequencer work in “Rough Landing” works well against big, spacey washes. The long, quiet fade Odd uses to take it out is a nice touch. “Not Alone,” another beatless course, puts a suitably soft finish on the album.
Listeners whose tastes run to spacemusic and classic EM will find quite a bit to enjoy on Discoveries. It knows where it comes from, and pays light homage to it. While it’s not an album I feel compelled to listen to over and over, it piques enough of my interest (along with pinging those nostalgia-fueled pleasure centers) that I know I’ll dig it out when I need an old-school fix. Give it a listen, and enjoy the ride.
Available from Bandcamp.