- Leading off Caribou's impressive new full-length, the swirling, infectious "Odessa" neatly reflects bandleader Dan Snaith's goal of making "dance music out of water." If you want to call "Odessa" indie-dance or something, go ahead, but truth be told something this original won't be easily subsumed under any sort of genre-mashup nomenclature. The ghost of Arthur Russell is in party mode, everywhere from the sweetly naive melody to the track's dense, kitchen-sink production aesthetic that mixes multiple live-drum loops with electronic samples. And like Russell, who started out making avant-garde cello music before migrating to the world of Paradise Garage, Snaith approaches dance music as a thoughtful, intuitive outsider, curious about the DNA of body-moving rhythms and willing to swap pieces around in an inventive bricolage.
In an interview with Pitchfork, Snaith observed that "it's quite liberating to think that as long as the music's rhythmic and propulsive in a certain way, then I can put Tibetan bowls and a harp in this track and I can still play it in a club." Take "Odessa"'s two-phrase sax skronk as exhibit A: What might otherwise sound like tuneless noise gets diced up into a relentlessly catchy two-phrase call-and-response that nicely punctuates Snaith's vocals.
The three remixes here display only in part how a track as simultaneously dense and hooky as this one would be ripe with remix potential. David Wrench, whose studio skills are amply displayed throughout Caribou's new album, wipes the sound slate clean except for the rhythm section, turning in what he calls a "Drumapella," which might seem to be an oxymoronic neologism until you hear how he makes the toms and snares sing out in a dub-flected cavern.
The B-side offers two productive cross-pollinations with other brand-name indie-electronic acts, Nite Jewel and Junior Boys, neither of which will surprise fans familiar with their respective styles. Nite Jewel opts for a heavy re-work, applying her sleepy-eyed space funk for bedroom grooving, going beatless for a spell before growing into an analog shuffle. Miss Jewel traffics in such homey stoned-disco territory, psychedelic but intimate, you wonder if her boudoir has a disco ball. With a dub workout and disco lullaby on the books, it's left to Junior Boys to turn out the most floor-ready remix: The duo keep shreds of sax and tom fills, and add percolating electro and glowing neon synths. Considering the rest of what the album has to offer, one hopes these remixes are only tastes of things to come.
A2 Odessa (David Wrench's Drumapella)
B1 Odessa (Junior Boys Mix)
B2 Odessa (Nite Jewel Remix)