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Economy of Movement - Review

Kobe is the solo project of Kevin Dunn (Loretta's Doll) and focuses on various experimental instrumental music. The name comes from the Japanese city that was devastated by a catastrophic earthquake, and the album liner notes contain a dedication "In Remembrance of January 17th, 1995 - 'The Day God's Door Opened".

While this appears to be the debut solo album for Kobe, his works have appeared on previous compilations including the label's release Eclectica Vol. 2 and also on the recent Projekt tribute to Dead Can Dance Summoning of the Muse with their cover of "Bird".  When it comes to experimental instrumental music it's hard to be in just the right mood to listen to it for very long, but this album manages to pull enough tribal percussion, ambient soundscapes and a touch of industrial into a mix that makes it quite interesting and definitely something unique that isn't heard very often.  Even so, each track has enough experimental elements that it does tend to wander and be distracting at times.

The artist's background in martial drumming comes out on many tracks including the kick off to the album, the short 2 1/2 minute piece "Avatar".  Even at that length I find myself skipping on to "Lotus" which reminds me a lot of the very old b-side material from The Cure with the faded and echoing background distorted vocals and the solid bass guitar providing a background for the moving percussion.  The experimental elements come out strong on "Seppuku", "Harbinger" and "Mouth" while the ambient soundscapes remain in the background on these and other pieces.  When we get to "A Drought of Fear" the intensity picks up to a crescendo as the percussion really dominates this piece even more than the others with no other instruments at all, it is a drum-line member's dream track.  It just so happens I saw the Utah state champion high-school drumline team last night and many of their awesome live performance remeinded me a lot of many of the pieces on this album.  It would be fun for Kevin to pick up some extras and do a live drumline show of many of these tracks, more than just computers like many power noise musicians bring to their live performances.

The finale to the album includes a collaboration with 4th Sing of the Apocalypse with their dark ambient additions to this experimental work.  There's not much more that I can add than for fans of dark ambient, experimental and percussion-based music this album should really please.  For others looking for something on the experimental edge, this is definitely a good way to get your feet wet.

Rating: 3/5


Website: www.middlepillar.com/kobe
Label: Middle Pillar Presents

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