'Fièvre' Oddisee (The Beauty in All, MelloMusicGroup, 2013) & Fu-Gee-La instrumental

Unlike other music writers my view on Oddisee is that he is most interesting when working outside the realm of the highly melodic, smooth and ‘relaxing’, when pushing his aesthetic further and doing something other than – as one journo put it – offering us ‘placid (musical?) memories’ … (a curious concept in itself, but still).

For this reason, the track that interests me most is 'Fièvre' (Fever in French) on The Beauty in All album from 2014 - music that while having a fairly basic song construction, as each element is introduced it layers on the preceding one is carried along by an affecting, effective beat. Perhaps this layering effect is intentional encouraging us to spend time with each element, to recognise its quality, before the music loosens up towards the end.

Here’s an interesting comment from an okayplayer interview with the NY-based MC/producer, Oddisee, on the album’s release, speaking with Zach Gase about the concept behind the record:  

OKP: You touched on the back story of your mixtape, and a lot of your other projects have interesting stories behind them, is there anything like that for The Beauty in All?

ODD: Definitely. As with all my records, they come from my influences; they come from what I observe. The Beauty in All is no different. From the perspective that throughout all my travels things started to become so redundant – every place I go starts to seem similar. There’s so many little small things, little inconsistencies and imperfections, that make me realize where I am. The things people take for granted, they walk by, are really what is starting to inspire me.

This record is more about the crack in the mirror, instead of the mirror itself. It’s more about the ugly things that make us appreciate beauty, and how that in itself, is something that is attractive to me. That’s what the record is about.

OKP: Do you find it more difficult to communicate that idea through instrumentals than lyrics?

ODD: I don’t really find any idea hard to communicate. It’s all interpretation. Now my interpretation may not register with other people, but it definitely isn’t something that is difficult for me to do. You know, it’s very personal, so it’s just my own interpretation.

Take a listen too to this reworking by Oddisee of this very famous track by the Fugees, ‘Fu-Gee-La’ that was released on their 1995 album The Score - my guess is that it's associated with Oddisee's album, The Remixture Vol. 1 (that includes a different version of the same, from 2006).

To appreciate the sonic difference between the generations, check out the Fugee's classic-90s instrumental turn here. 

When you listen to the two side by side you can see the fun Oddisee is having with his version, enhancing the dub aspect and exaggerating its imported exoticism. There's a certain joyfulness to this, albeit one submerged within a slowed-down daze.