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Odd Beholder – Sunny Bay

Odd Beholder - Sunny Bay - artwork

Daniela Weinmann may never forsake digitalisation. The figurehead of Odd Beholder, accountable for the project’s visual and audial creativity, appeared alarmed but amused by a piquing, perplexing technology takeover on debut album All Reality Is Virtual. When turning her head to mother nature on Sunny Bay, her tantalisation continues, now issuing an evident juxtaposition.

Her fascination translates as she zaps the listener simultaneously with bee stings and cybernetic lasers. Odd Beholder’s stance on synth pop is laid-back with an ambient-style emphasis on pads; a dreamy blanket for Weinmann’s parsing relationship with the universe.

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Such a glide path is crucial for the credence of Accept Nature, which fawns over fauna, further prettifying the splendour of nature while sat atop a mountain of flashy synthetics, attempting to meet that marriage of computer-y futurism and naked wilderness.

An organic recording of a bee buzzing pilots into Silent Spring. The synths initially hover delicately in minimalist fashion as if wishing not to startle the critter, before springing to life with programmed beats. The development is cutesy, particularly as Weinmann proclaims to testing her Chinese by conversing with a bee while celebrating the muteness of nature – it may triple the size of the listener’s heart.

All of these swoons are premediated, but any deliberation is swallowed by the impulsiveness of Weinmann’s otherworldly love. The majority of the tracklist is delivered on a teasing chill with regular bursts of life. Even a song about birds – ‘entitled ‘Birds’ – frees itself with Ministry of Sound synth lust, while Rental Car intensifies into an ascending, eye-popping chorus.

A binocular view of the living world may even be unforeseen as Disaster Movies kicks the album off. A redux of ‘80s-smitten synths commemorates Weinmann’s past, affording her a nostalgia on the basis of casual innocence; hanging out, watching disaster movies etc. On the opposite end, ‘Cupid’s Foul Play’ sees Weinmann lament over love, pleading with Cupid “don’t make me hurt” over a stark piano distinct when displayed next to the album’s regular synthetics.

These passages are totalled with a sporadic Weyes Blood wisp, which suits the underwater ambience of the title track; the music consoles Weinmann like a session of meditation as she sings “I don’t have the guts to pray”. Granted in the process is the most sparkling arrangement of the album, comparable only to the pure atmosphere of Transatlantic Flight, with each synth note resembling the popping of a bubble.

It’s instinct cushioned by care and thought, a practice that somehow appears both calculated and overzealous over the lengthy Olive Trees. But Sunny Bay itself is a project handled with the utmost love; a precedent already set by an embrace with the natural world, steadied and loudened by the serenity of Odd Beholder’s synth bliss.

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Rating

Composition
Lasting Appeal
Lyrics
Production

Great

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