There's something about Bazile's fourth album, The Odyssey, that fails to fulfill the promise of its title (not to mention match its stunning cover art). While his collaborative album with Porter, Sketches Of Space, showed off his cosmic jazz side and the cassette-only Ancient Tones was more experimental, The Odyssey is hardly different from previous Aybee records. That's not inherently a bad thing, but the ponging FX and quickening techno pulse of a track like "Down The Rabbit Hole" feel less like striking out on a bold new journey than plunging down a familiar chasm. Ditto the throbbing menace of "Man Over Machine," which goes even darker for nearly ten minutes.
Things brighten considerably in the album's midsection, with the three strongest tracks set in a row. "Island In Sky" has the type of skittering drums that bring to mind Afrikan Sciences, but the kicks and rippling keys are wholly Bazile's own and the slow arc of strings gives the track a dramatic edge. Pity it fades away before the four-minute mark. Strings also waft across the moody pads of "The Professor," giving it an elegant sheen that neatly offsets the snares and deep bass. "Push Pull" quickens the pace again and feels recharged after the two slower tracks, with dribbles of melody shooting around the claps.
The Odyssey finishes with Bazile at his most eclectic. A hiccupping drum pattern (and counterpoint of congas) works well with the resonant, floating, Lonnie Liston Smith-style chords of "Build Them." "Asteroid Lust" deftly mixes a jittery acid line and a dreamy shimmer to nice effect, cooling down the pace. As a whole, The Odyssey might feel somewhat aimless, but its back half is still a worthwhile detour.