Nobody: And Everything Else...
Plug Research

Though Elvin Estela has attracted attention with Nobody outings like Pacific Drift: Western Water Music Vol. 1 (2003, Ubiquity Records), his profile recently received a significant boost via his association with Scott Herren in the production team La Correccion. The beautiful And Everything Else…, however, leaves no doubt that Estela's music holds up perfectly well on its own. It's an explorative and eclectic collection of twelve hip-hop instrumentals, vocal cuts, and folk settings that's enhanced by a joyous vibe common to Plug Research albums. Despite its wide range, the album's unifying core is its warm hip-hop beats, with the sweet splat of the snare in the soulful “Jose De La Rues!!!” a typical example. And Everything Else… opens strongly with the breezy instrumental “The Coast is Clear (For Fireworks)” as the muffled boom of tight beats powers a hypnotic 4-note guitar motif. Equally impressive are two later instrumentals “Wake Up and Smell the Millennium,” which pairs a pumping rhythmic punch with harpsichord filigrees, and the La Correccion outing “Tori Oshi,” hip-hop folk that oozes signature Prefuse flavour. On the quieter tip, Estela includes “Tilijem's Forrest,” a peaceful oasis where loping beats wend their way through a misty setting of soft flutes and exotic noises, and the bucolic folk outro “Siesta Con Susana.”

Three dramatically different vocal cuts stand out, with a psychedelicized cover of The Flaming Lips' “What is the Light?” the most memorable. In a collaborative outing with Mystic Chords of Memory (Chris Gunst of Beachwood Sparks and Jen Cohen of the Aisler's Set) and Farmer (Beachwood Sparks), Nobody crafts a dense, swirling arrangement of baroque piano melodies and organ washes alongside mellow ‘60s-styled vocals. Nobody creates a placid backdrop in “You Can Know Her” for Mia Doi Todd's lulling vocal, while “Con Un Relampago” features Spanish singing by MC Xololanxinco.

In its psychedelic-hip-hop moments, Nobody's music recalls Caribou's; “Tilijem's Forrest,” for example, would sound equally at home on The Milk of Human Kindness, and “Go Go Interlude Go” pairs slamming Caribou-styled beats with a distorted voice-over. With its bell chime melody, organ, and phased vocal effects, “Spin the Bright Sun Rose” also exudes a psychedelic feel. If not every moment rises to the same level as, say, “The Coast is Clear (For Fireworks),” the album ultimately establishes itself as a thoroughly pleasurable whole rather than a gathering of unrelated songs.

June 2005