STA010 | Kobol | Broken Ebony

Electronic duo Kobol, Arhkota and Nashio Chávez, are originally from Ensenada and currently living in the city of Los Angeles. Kobol‘s music unites the sounds of free jazz alongside dynamic rhythms, precise and enigmatic textures alongside live acoustic impressions. Kobol creates a musical language that goes beyond nu-jazz and basic IDM patterns, as they break ground and forms a new platform of sounds that go from digital to analog. Kobol’s sound is focused on the detail of sound texture, manipulating natural audio sources and imparting to them a mysterious and cinematic sense. Kobol are, in the strict and classical sense of jazz, a rich broth of sounds that are accessible to those who are already experienced in these matters, while at the same time their work is also easy and smooth for new ears.

Kobol’s Broken Ebony has the warm, loose feeling of classic jazz, yet it sounds constructed, more like a film score than an improvisation. It’s electronic music, percussion-heavy and occasionally with a serious low end to it, yet it shuffles and stomps along like someone sneaking around the yard. It’s the sound of after-hours city streets, eerie but still stylish … but is this now or the future? Kobol – the Mexican duo of Nashio Chavez and Argel Medina – creates music that sounds utterly unique, even as the components have a calming familiarity about them. Their tracks feel open-ended, but sound crisp and smoothly put together. There’s intelligent design at work. They’ll turn a simple melody inside out, mutating into a near melee between hip-hop, dub reggae, and atmospheric jazz. Or they’ll chop up an organ solo, and turn it into a quiet interlude (cue footage of a couple strolling down a city street after hours). Broken Ebony seems at first to be an exercise in mood, and a completely riveting one at that, but there’s much more going on here. Romance and science are meeting in exciting ways, and exploding into a new style of jazzy futuristic mood music. – ERASING CLOUDS (Dave Heaton)

It is unusual how from the armpit of the world (not the ass) music can emerge so advanced, pleasant and surprising. Without falling into the boring nineties of acid jazz or the tacky and solemnity of certain digital electronics, Kobol create a sound that breaks the mold with a very elegant nu-jazz interwoven with dub, whose sounds are one and the other at the same time. Perhaps close to what Four Tet does. It’s not jazz with a beat underneath. It is an instrumental dub-jazz where digital computer sounds become organic, equivocal, and instruments such as double bass and drums behave electronically. Cinematic settings, soft in their emotion, but energetic and decisive in their emission, make their obsession with details and clicks imperceptible. Their sound is so original, it’s hard to describe it. – RUTA SONORA / LA JORNADA (Patricia Peñaloza)

THE BEST 10 ELECTRONIC ALBUMS OF 2005: When Ignacio Chavez is Plankton Man, he constructs dope-ass Nortec jamz full of Mexican banda samples and snare hits from God’s drummer. But here he imports drummer Argel Medina and makes something much, much weirder: an IDM record that actually has an ass to it. I’m not sure if one can dance to “Hilton” or “Es Particular,” but they both have momentum and kick and excitement to go with the weird squiggles and deep throbs. This often sounds like space cabaret Afrobeat (“Delevan”) or Le Hot Club de Robojazz (“Trio in a Box”, the most aptly named track in the history of the world), and even goes ambient freak-squawk for “Terror Pig”, which I’m pretty sure is for Donald Rumsfeld. But there is no denying that it’s genius, especially on the shiny “Command Station”, which puts the cool in culo for real. – POP MATTERS (Matt Cibula)