By Reed Fischer
By Anna Gulbrandsen
By Jeff Gage
By Stacy Schwartz
By Natalie Gallagher
By Erik Thompson
By Jeff Gage
By Loren Green
And Everything Else...
On And Everything Else..., Elvin Estrella, a.k.a. Nobody, a veteran of the '90s California underground hip-hop mixtape universe and now a full-time sculptor of coffee-table beats and atmospheric record collectronica, has made an engaging cloud formation of an album that smells like spring and is as attuned to the (current) psychedelic folk leanings of indie-rock America as it is to that Shadow-y world of (mostly) instrumental break beat-obsessed mood Muzak. As any trend-setting grind-house barista can tell you (And god love those little troopers. They have been through the trip-hop wars, the neo-soul revolution, the Putumayo putsch, and smiles are still free!), ever since DJ Shadow released Endtroducing, there has been a glut of imaginary soundtrackin' beatscaper stuff long on ambience and short on just about anything else that would make you want to listen to a record twice outside of the latte parlor.
Nobody lets you drift off into the ether, but he never loses your attention. No mean feat! Plus, he's an unabashed '60s pop and rock fan, and he lets you know it right off the bat with a garage-psych (plus beats) cover of the Flaming Lips' "What Is the Light?" courtesy of his Cali pals in Beechwood Sparks and the Aisler's Set, who like to call themselves Mystic Chords of Memory when they're moonlighting. Hell, it beats the original. Alt-folk chanteuse Mia Doi Todd shows up via satellite for some gauzy astral communion, and then disappears in a puff of patchouli-scented smoke.
And while those cats are cool, one of the real standout tracks is an almost completely unembellished playback of an instrumental drums and harpsichord number from sunshine-pop maestro Curt Boettcher's late-'60s Millennium project. Knowing the song is pretty much perfect in its original state, Nobody adds some deft looping and goes on break. That's the sign of someone who knows when to hold them, fold them, walk away, or run. And it's a skill that a lot of DJs/artists/performers never learn. Add some breezy seaside jaunts to the heart of the sun, an exciting rap en español collaboration with Xololanxinco from Of Mexican Descent and a little prog-folk hoedown with sci-fi beat-splitter Prefuse 73 and what you get is an eclectic whole that adds up to a walk in the park.
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