Odario — ‘Good Morning Hunter,’ 4.5/5

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Image provided by Listen Harder Music Publicity.

There is a notion that times of political and social turmoil create incendiary music, the kind of essential, galvanizing work that inspires and unites people.

It’s true that sometimes certain artists are able to capture the zeitgeist and make something definitive of a time and place.

However, oftentimes, this kind of turmoil sows little more than despair — COVID-19 has seen the closure of dozens of beloved venues, left artists unable to tour or record and cast the future of working musicians into the unknown.

Odario Williams, known professionally by the mononym “Odario,” after decades of making music with Mood Ruff and Grand Analog, has found a tentatively hopeful middle ground between despair and clear-eyed truth-telling on his first solo EP.

Good Morning Hunter is shaped by the extraordinary circumstances in which it was made, but it’s never about the pandemic — it’s about those living through it, what came before, what comes after and the small fires that drive people through the unknown.

A sparkling medley of hip hop, jazz, soul and small, insular electronic music — think Mort Garson by way of Erykah Badu — Good Morning Hunter is uplifting without being cloying, a guest-heavy dash through a multitude of colours and textures that leaves room for moments of quiet introspection. Most of these moments are courtesy of spoken word artist Angelita SB, whose steely-eyed appearances on “Reprise” and “Disastro” ground the EP in our tumultuous reality.

The highlights are plentiful and spread evenly throughout. The EP is properly sequenced, rising and falling just when required, allowing sunlight and shadow to dance around each other just so.

“Midnight: Ghosts,” with its echoing insect-click backing, feverish build and twinkling chorus is an encapsulation of everything that Good Morning Hunter does well, sprinting through a series of styles while still giving time to breathe. The title track’s skittering jazz percussion and floating guitar solo, courtesy of Adrian X, melts effortlessly into Ofield K’s kinetic dub remix, a one-two punch of dynamic heat.

By the time things close out on “Hot Hot Heat,” featuring the dynamic Kamilah Apong, you’ll likely feel more energized than you did when you first hit play.

Good Morning Hunter is a complex, insular EP, but its major motivations are movement and togetherness — finding a sense of complicated hope among all the despair.