Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Like Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music or Richard Young's Advent, this album must be listened in total to get the full effect. As when listening to the other records, patience is rewarded; one can achieve an altered state through the music alone. Kobi is a Norwegian collective run by Kai Mikalsen. The music is a combination of electronically processed sounds of common objects and acoustic based instruments such as cello, double bass, accordion & guitar.

The music itself is extremely subtle. It compares to listening to ocean waves or the rumbling of an air conditioning unit. The sound seems repetitive at first, but slowly becomes more and more transfixing. The record itself was mastered at a low volume. I think this record would greatly benefit from play on large speakers. I am sure on a large sound system this disc could be utterly transportive.

The song titles read like they went through the translation tool on AltaVista one too many times. The result is intentionally or unintentionally funny song titles such as "Yellow Scales Slid Across Oily Rolls of Flushed Skin" and "Faint Echoes Ran Round the Unseen Hall (Part 1)". The song titles themselves are unimportant because the whole disc acts as one sound piece. There is a constant subtle, subterranean percussion that runs through all the songs. Sometimes, a guitar feedback growls and bowed strings moan as electronics gurgle and whir in the background. Sometimes the sounds build up to a would be climax, but the music never quite reaches it.

The song "Anchored to a Central Core of Saturated Intensity" begins a journey which employs disembodied voices that call out from the muddy sonic soup. Fractured guitar notes repeat as a feedback-whirlwind rushes over high-pitched squeals. A low rumble joins the mix. The sound becomes more and more dense. It enters an almost Dadahmah like territory before slowly fading out to a person reading a children's story on the song "This Inclusion is not a simple Operation." If one is not looking directly at the CD display it is hard to tell where one song starts and another ends. As one listens, the divisions between songs become less and less important. Kobi's music to be fully satisfying requires ones full attention. Close, committed listening is rewarded with quite a fascinating voyage.
(Silber)(Dan Cohoon)