Oddsfiche is a Canadian post-psychedelic progressive rock band founded in 2016 by guitarist Duke Gray. Gray began Oddsfiche as a solo project before acquiring bassist Hratch Keoshkerian in 2017 and drummer/percussionist Kent Paris in 2019 (after many drummer changes). Their latest live performance in Toronto’s The Hideout marks a defining moment in Oddsfiche’s musical journey, as it definitively solidifies their new lineup. Despite only being a trio, they succeed in creating a huge atmospheric sound that is rich with effects but also full of drive and purpose – the psychedelic version of Rush perhaps.
It would be difficult to try and liken their sound to other bands as Oddsfiche has carefully been shaped so that today the end product is unique. From humble beginnings, Duke Gray began exploring the boundaries of sound; ‘Ninth Eyelid Atelier’ for me represents a collection of Gray’s sound experiments, presenting the listener with a widely mixed palette of new and ambiguous sounds. ‘Soundtracks for Cemeteries’ similarly aims to try and push these boundaries but on this album, songs are beginning to form from these weird but wonderful enigmas to the ear. The song ‘A Small Eardrum Civilisation’ from this album is one example of how Gray began to create more coherent ideas from his soundscapes and in the future would use this to form an even more coherent idea in the middle section of ‘Snoring With An Accent’ which opens their latest live album at The Hideout. What was clear from Gray’s first couple of experimental albums was the need for a rhythm section – his awesome sounds certainly deserved a supporting role. With the addition of Keoshkerian’s bass and Paris’ drums grounding the music into place, Gray’s crazy sounds, that he has been developing since 2016, have been allowed to flourish so that Oddsfiche’s current sound is both tight but also unpredictable.
Their recent live performance at The Hideout in Toronto could not emphasise this point any better. This is how they describe their sound at the moment: ‘If Quentin Tarantino and George Lucas did mushrooms and made a movie, we’d be the soundtrack to it.’ This is perfectly encapsulated in their The Hideout 2020 performance; I am gifted with the open spacey sounds I would associate with George Lucas and then they also produce more sinister and violent sounds that I would associate with Quentin Tarantino. Songs such as ‘The Other End of Yes’ and ‘The Right Amount of Chaos’ are the best examples of this. ‘The Other End of Yes’ begins with the most heavenly ascending figure on Gray’s heavily reverbed guitar that eventually settles onto a chilled out and catchy groove led by Keoshkerian’s bass. The drumming on this version, I believe, is superior to the drum parts played on the versions of this song on ‘Can’t Autograph a Snowball’ which featured a different drummer. Paris’ drum parts are more purposeful on this latest version and also provide a better fit for Keoshkerian’s addictive bass line – Paris brings the bass line to the surface. This is a reflection of their musical unity as Paris represents the missing piece of the Oddsfiche jigsaw that solidifies them as a musical unit. Midway through the song, this chilled out groove is replaced with a more driving section full of aggression before returning to the songs main groove. This is the sort of Lucas/Tarantino parallel that Oddsfiche successfully communicate. Of course there are some songs on this album that feature one heavily over the other. ‘Screaming Kangaroo Confederacy’ (as the name suggests) would best represent a ‘bad trip’ in the wonderful world of drugs associated with psychedelia. The minor second note intervals on the bass begin the piece ominously, which is echoed by the guitar’s sustained, overdriven sound. ‘Motion Sick Kisses’ follows a similar formula; a fast-paced, angry song that is relentless in nature. It is perhaps minimalist to a certain extent – its simple aim is to dizzy the listener, as outlined by the title ‘motion sick’. Whereas, a song such as ‘Not the End’ aims to represent a ‘good trip’; the bass is more or less constantly playing ascending figures which gives the piece an uplifting feel. What also helps to chill the listener out is Gray’s reverb effects (it sounds like TC Electronics Hall of Fame 2 shimmer effect but I may be wrong) which creates a relaxing shimmer effect.
Overall, their recent 2020 performance at The Hideout is the best way for any new listeners to access their growing sound. Not only does it solidify their psychedelic sounds of the past that Gray began experimenting with in 2016, but it also foreshadows the continuing development of their sound with new drummer Kent Paris which I am excited to hear. For anybody wanting to go on a musical journey full of winds, turns, highs, lows, violence, beauty etc… then these crazy guys are worth checking out (with or without the drugs)!
You can check out Oddsfiche on BandCamp here! Let us know what you think of their awesome sound.
Written by Dominic Sanderson