Mephisto Odyssey: The Lift EP

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By Benn Joseph

To begin with, I would just like to note that in the press release for Mephisto Odyssey, their music is described as being “jazz-funk for the 21st century and beyond.” This is not true at all.

Let me try to explain what I thought of when I read this description. “Jazz-funk,” to me, is something that would resemble a cross between, say, Parliament and Stan Getz. Or maybe even the Commodores and Sun Ra, which I assure you would have wacky results. I never imagined that combining any of these musicians would, in a sense, create a series of straight-up four-beat rave music tracks. Nevertheless, that’s essentially what The Lift EP is all about.

Actually, let me retract that statement for just a moment. There is one song that doesn’t fit this category, and that’s the first one. “Flow” (the original version, as opposed to any of the numerous remixes) does fit the press release description, but it’s only the first song. I can see some slight funk undertones here, and creepy ones at that. It has an exciting arrangement, with almost continuous climaxes combined with deep valleys of bass. When I first heard it, I could have sworn it was on The Matrix soundtrack, but I was only thinking of “Spybreak!” by the Propellerheads. You know, the song they played when Neo and Trinity were involved in that epic shooting scene with all those security guards during their quest to free Morpheus.

Well, perhaps there is one other song worth mentioning. “Duchess Man” starts with some interesting siren-loops, and progresses to a light techno-beat over a period of about a minute. After that it gets into a cool groove involving some thick bass and keyboards, and just rides that for a while. Later on there’s these ululating electronic screams, and then some weird organ riffs.

The rest of the songs aren’t terribly noteworthy. The downfall here is that there is little consistency. There are a couple complicated, invigorating songs, and the rest are just a series of thumps for dancing (dance for dance’s sake rhythms). If this EP was limited to just one of these styles, it would probably be more fun to listen to. The songs for dancing are strong, but you can’t really just sit down and listen to them like you can with “Flow” and “Duchess Man.” You can decide for yourself, though. Just check out www.mephistoodyssey.com.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/mephistoodyssey-lift/