New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
Hot on the heels of a solo collection released last year, it's hard to believe one man and his many machines can gener- ate an equally high quality of material in such a short time.
That last record seemed to function as an entry point for many newcomers to the longer term career of this British musician and composer who has been making significant self-contained sound for a long, long time. Much of it was / is unquestionably ahead of its time. Ferreting around in an extensive back cata- logue or releases and routinely radical remixes, it's clear that last year's collection is no freak signal. That record, like the one you hold in your paw, is part of a continuum, a clear and committed mission to invest rhythm - based late night experiments with a musicality, a depth and a humanity missing from the efforts of even close contemporaries.
Technology means the musician's world can now be a very small, private one. A clearing in a bedroom or a mind, where it's possible to get lost and look only inward. Steve Cobby's music fights the technology in the sense that, though deep in emotional intensity (chord changes that unexpectedly drop you somewhere else entirely are commonplace) it seems always to be reaching out, acknowledging the fundamental possible power of all great music — the ability to connect and communicate, to recalibrate the mind weary of the modern world. Great claims? I don't make them lightly. Your personal dialogue with this music will develop in such a way that you'll find yourself living with it and understanding what I mean in the most fundamental way.
It's perhaps a legacy of working with a diverse selection of musical achievers over the years - time spent in darkened rooms making things sound just so with the likes of Afghan Whigs' Greg Dulli, Eno acolyte Harold Budd and Cabaret Voltaire's Steven Mallinder - that has naturally honed a unique sense of skill and judgement. It's rewarding always to lose yourself in this back catalogue of creative collaboration. Even the sometimes simple task of remixing someone else's work often sees him rewiring and recontextualizing in the way others can only aspire to - making something new, more emotionally changed from something older.
You see the beginnings of the journey to this point in that earlier work. More than three simple chords revolving, real drums, organic and often unexpected structures beyond the con- fines of Ableton grids and blocks, a harmonic logic that helps the music ebb and flow around moving major themes that, even when resolutely melancholy, still emanate a warmth which keeps you coming back.
This record, like the last, works as a journey of sorts and seems connected to a time when an album was planned and executed as a valuable use of 45 minutes of your time. Even at its most vibrant, this record lends itself to reflection. There's
an imagined, almost pastoral, Englishness to it betraying its country of origin. In depth experience means there is no fear of space and simplicity. It's not a record that will beat you down. Rather, the moment you drop the needle, it will seep into your conciousness. It feels like a record that's been around forever. Like the great Eno records, it is a definitive emotional statement that dispenses with song format. Steve is a generous and humble soul who will no doubt baulk at my great claims. I don't make them lightly and no money has changed hands as a result of
my insistence on saying something about this very significant modern British instrumental adventure.
I could go through the tracks in the time-honoured style of the sleeve note writer. But I won't. Just this once. Not because there isn't anything to say — not at all — but because it will rob you of the opportunity of letting your imagination roam on hearing these often compelling, always beautiful tracks. My own impressions of this music are ultimately inner, personal. The fact that the intrepid Captain
Cobby has worked so hard to reach out to make a connection facilitates that. It's what great musicians do. Of course some of this music will find its way to particular public spaces engaged in exploring useful purposes for music beyond the narrow templates of the modern dance- floor. It feels almost incidental that it will work in that way too, and it's a testament that it does so on its own terms.
Steve Cobby is a British producer, musician, composer, and DJ, based in Kingston-upon-Hull, Yorkshire.
After disbanding his first commercially released band Ashley & Jackson on Big Life records (A&R Darcuss Beese), he co-founded Fila Brazillia with David
McSherry in 1990. Together they released 10 critically acclaimed LP's and produced over 70 remixes for artists as diverse as Radiohead, Busta Rhymes, Black
Minds, James, A Certain Ratio and Moloko.
Brennand he established iconic label Pork Recordings in 1990 and then the 23 Records imprint in 1999 with Sim Lister and David
McSherry. Steel Tiger Records was formed with the Lister in 2006. Cobby now releases music via his own label Déclassé label. His latest and third solo LP 'Saudade' was released in March 2014 and received considerable critical acclaim.
Additional writing and production collaborations include Heights of Abraham; J*S*T*A*R*S, The Cutler, Hey Rube (with Stephen Malinder of Cabaret Voltaire fame).
Numerous remixes have been undertaken in a solo capacity.
Cobby co-produced Afghan Whigs frontman Greg Dulli's debut solo LP 'The Twilight Singers' in 2000 and also co-wrote and produced 'Three White Roses and a Budd EP with Bill Nelson
and avant-garde American composer Harold Budd. In addition he has worked extensively with Darren Emerson, in an engineering and writing capacity.
A seasoned traveller, Cobby has DJ'd both nationally and internationally, from Sydney to San Francisco, New York to Tokyo as well as performing live in Europe, Japan and the US.
Single: 'Clamour' ft Isobel Helen - Label: Secret Life
Single: 'We Start Over' ft Trudie Dawn Smith - Label: International Feel
Single: 'Vitamin C' / Tumble Fish as Hey Rube! - Label: Throne Of Blood
LP: 'Everliving" follow up to 'Saudade' - Label: Déclassé
Penelope Antena for Aficionado
Flash Atkins ft Danielle
Moore for Paper
Ghostchant, Anchorsong, Tricky
D and Beatspoke for BBE
Hawke for Whiskey Pickle Records
B J Smith for Nu Northern Soul
for Nick Faber