Kobe – Economy of movement

Kevin Dunn is the man behind the project Kobe. A man who is, according to his bio, active in the underground ‘experimental’ music scene for years. He joined the band Loretta’s Doll in 1991, and studied martial drumming for quite some time. He also founded the label Middle Pillar Records.
Martial percussion is the keyword concerning Kobe’s music; but it’s not alike the regular drumming present in most martial industrial. Instead, Kobe is heavily influenced by Japanese culture (hence the name Kobe) and especially the country’s Taiko/ Kodo drumming.

All songs on ‘Economy of movement’ are strongly percussive. The music is -I guess deliberately- unbalanced because the background ambience evolves around the Taiko (or Kodo?) drumming. I’m unfamiliar with the drumming genre, but I guess Dunn did some effort to give the album a more industrial feel. So the feeling that this music evokes is not purely a traditional, ethnic feel, moreover an industrial one. However, it’s not akin to the martial, industrial slow drumming of Der Blutharsch, for example. But raging and fast, and more tribal then the mentioned band. A lot reminds me of the famous ‘Ars Moriendi’ cd of Cold Meat Industry’s Memorandum.

To cast my judgement: the album is very strong. Kevin Dunn drums so tight, it is as if there is a drumcomputer or drumsynth involved. But I guess this is all the art of Dunn. The beatings are fast, intense, heavy raging battle drums, a little flat and synthetic, but really powerful.
The melodies are minimal as well. The music accompanying the drumming is sometimes almost absent, sometimes there are repetitive layers or atmospherics added. Even the background noises seem to rhythmically assist the percussive intensity.

People into fast rhythms and who are unafraid of a little ethnic experiment, should definately get their hands on ‘Economy of movement’. But those who like slow evolving ambient/ industrial, with moody, slow beatings: this album is not for them.

artist: Kobe
label: Middle Pillar Presents
details: 10 tracks, 44 minutes, 2005 [MPP 989]