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.
- Friday, July 11, 2014, 8 p.m.
2501 Kettner Boulevard,
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.