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Alone in the mix: that’s the first thought that came to mind when I listened to Okapi Sun’s dance/electro-pop combo platter of tribal drums, keys, synths, and the bane of all good music — vocals bled out to an audience through Auto-Tune. That’s an audio processor that was designed to fix pitchy singers in the recording studio. When used at full-throttle, the resulting distortion has almost become de rigueur among pop singers who, as a united front, have run the hackneyed effect into the ground. The sound is so dated by now that using Auto-Tune pegs a band to a dwindling era. Why, Okapi Sun? Why?

I looked to their Facebook bio in hopes of finding an answer. “We decorate ourselves with sounds and let them form into songs.” True enough — there is that element in the music, of hyper-colorful childhood imagery, but for adults. Okapi Sun got music-industry interest in Texas during South by Southwest and here on the home front where they were nominated for Best Pop at the San Diego Music Awards last year.

Past Event

Okapi Sun, Madly, the Hunt, Fame Riot

  • Friday, July 11, 2014, 8 p.m.
  • Casbah, 2501 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego
  • 21+

OS is a female duo that began just over a year ago. Dallas (Gabriela Sanchez) and Leo (Maren Parusel) forged an alliance in Europe, as the story goes, and reunited when Parusel moved to America and fronted an indie-rock guitar-based outfit that bore her name. (Maren Parusel won Best Pop Album for her Artificial Gardens at the 2011 SDMA awards; Dallas played keyboards and viola in that band.) In press, the two have likened the effect of their music to a dance party, but Okapi Sun is more of an analog band than a deejay set, even though the net result is a hybrid sound that appears to goof EDM. Am I to take this band seriously, or is Okapi Sun pure satire? I’m thinking that the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

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