And Everything Else
oughly three quarters of the way through Guillermo Scott Herren’s recent collaboration rich Surrounded By Silence album, there was a song which sounded considerably more Savath than its Prefuse tag would have led you to expect. Teaming up with Nobody (the capital N indicated it was somebody), Herren found his Prefuse 73 alter-ego acquiescing somewhat as the serrated blip-hop that he has come to trademark was sanded smooth through the combination of dreamy soundscapes and B-boy orchestration on the Electric Prunes indebted “La Correction Exchange.” Not one to leave a favour hanging, Prefuse 73 is now making a one night only, guest appearance on Nobody’s Robert Lowth baiting And Everything Else album, through the self proclaimed “folky banger” of “Tori Oshi.”
More of a companion piece than a strictly defined follow up, “Tori Oshi” is loosely speaking folk, but only if your folk reference point extends no further than the likes of Four Tet or Pedro, two artists nominally pigeon holed within this liquid genre when the given journalist has ran out of prefixes for their errant –tronicas. Tense and densely structured, “Tori Oshi” shares an aura with Dan Snaith wherein delicately hewn melodies are willfully corrupted through the fusion of head nodding breaks, Ye Olde backwards bits, a chorus line of handclaps and a veritable slew of toothsome strings. As the penultimate track it provides the last burst of furnace door energy before the house lights are lowered through the achingly poignant acoustic balm of “Siesta Con Susana,” a song that brings to mind humid evenings following a hot and joyful day in the sun. “But what about the other ten songs?” I hear you caustically muttering. No fear my fellow audiophiles, for I adhere to the strict doctrine of Opus Davidus and its central teaching; “Re-e-wind when the crowd say Bo Selecta”. You said Bo, I’m rewinding…
Having displayed a passion for all things Hip and Hop on 2002 debut Soulmates, Nobody (aka Elvin Estella) then screwed up the blueprint and invested in some David Axelrod for the psychedelic tinged follow up Pacific Drift. Somewhat predictably, And Everything Else sees Estella musically hedging his bets with a sonic collision that cherry picks elements from both and in doing so brings home a bumper, sun ripened crop. With the rewind fully executed, Nobody opens on “The Coast Is Clear (For Fireworks),” a formidable update of the sound last seen executed this successfully on Kid Loco’s A Grand Love Story, albeit given a liberal chalk smudge similar to Brighton’s The Go! Team. This slightly ‘wide-eyed and wired’ effect soon pokes its head above the ramparts again on “What Is The Light?,” a Flaming Lips cover ad reprise of the successful collaborative venture that led to Pacific Drift’s standout track; “Porpoise Song.” Itself a reworking of the Monkees’ amblicated original, “Porpoise Song” saw Estella enticing Chris Gunst and Farmer Dave Scher (from Beachwood Sparks) alongside Jen Cohen (Aisler’s Set) into the studio for a serotonin rinsed session that turned out so well they only went and decided to do it all over again. Hosed clean of fake blood and gold glitter, “What Is The Light?” becomes a much more overtly tender piece that happily slips into orbit around the Notwist/Postal Service/The Go Find axis of Indietronica. Toning down the original’s cracked pepper falsetto, Nobody’s specially assembled crew turn Cohen’s ode into a fraughtly atmospheric six minutes of slouching breaks and wired jaw vocals that, even despite some pockets of Ian Broudie-esque production, soars skywards in the most engaging manner imaginable.
Chunky knit breaks? Check. Minor off-key chord changes? Check. Misty vocals? Check. It’s Shadow innit? Well no, but Nobody undoubtedly has a dog-eared copy of Endtroducing lovingly tucked under his bed, with “Spin The Bright Sun Rose” plagiarizing Josh Davis both respectfully and successfully. Making comparisons with other artists may by lazy, but And Everything Else crow bars such a spectrum of references into its oeuvre without appearing derivative that it would be churlish not to acknowledge them. So whilst “Tilijem’s Forrest” ushers in some Pause-era Four Tet and “Pour Angular Fellow” embeds baile funk sensibilities into a pre-shit Nightmares On Wax structure, “Go Go Interlude Go” forces Corneshop and the Beastie Boys into a well intentioned death match. It is very much to Estella’s credit that rather than a gaudy aural patchwork, he manages to create a soft and welcoming Eiderdown into which you can’t help but sink.
Thumbing through his phone book again, Nobody produces another couple of chimerical collaborations drafting in both Mia Doi Todd and Xololanxinco for vocal detail. Whilst the former of these (whose recent Man Zanita album should be top of your ‘to do’ list) brings her honey blunted delivery to “You Can Know Her” and in doing so produces a sound akin to Bent’s Zoë Johnston collaborations or more recently Populous’ Maltilde Davoli hook-up, it is the latter which really allows Nobody to indulge his hip-hop leanings. Just as DJ Krush’s Japanese language hip-hop was always an exhilarating ride despite not understanding a word of it (see “Shin-Sekai”), Nobody’s use of old time cohort Xololanxino on the Hispanic rhymes of “Con Un Relampago” allows those of us without the requisite linguistic knowledge to enjoy the vocals as a rich and complex instrument, shorn of the syntactic, semantic, and lexical baggage. With each track an alluring fusion of styles and influences that never somehow puts a foot wrong, Nobody has taken the concept of faceless producer to its appellation rendered conclusion and in doing so produced a record that positively teems with gleeful personality. Nobody really does have something for everybody.
Reviewed by: Adam Park
Reviewed on: 2005-05-26