Nobody And Everything Else…

[Plug Research; 2005]

Rating: 3/5

Styles: instrumental hip-hop, downtempo, psychedelic pop, West Coast electronic
Others: Four Tet, Prefuse 73, Kid Loco, Anticon Collective, Alias & Tarsier

Albums like And Everything Else..., the debut Plug Research long-player from Nobody (a.k.a. Elvin Estela), are an occasional treat for casual listeners and music reviewers alike. The record is an impeccably produced full-length that is likely to appeal to a broad base of listeners with its combination of laid-back grooves, indie rock sensibility, and catchy melodic charm. It's also a challenging enough listen to demand repeated spins. And Everything Else..., in short, is the type of album that really grows on you.

Nobody's combination of warm, crackly vinyl samples, judicious use of live instrumentation, and actual breakbeats demonstrates that a great deal of work went into the making of the album. Despite the record being a predominantly instrumental affair, the music is complex enough to render the pieces much more than simple hip-hop backing tracks. The press release mentions that Estela has a love of early '90s hip-hop production. This is evident on And Everything Else... The record is at times reminiscent of the production of Beastie Boys, Cypress Hill's DJ Muggs, and to a lesser degree, "trip hop"-aligned artists such as DJ Shadow and Massive Attack. Though it is not a particularly dark album, there is a somewhat murky, blunted element to Nobody's production that begs the listener to dig deeper into it and aurally deconstruct the pieces individually. A casual listen truly does not do the record justice. And Everything Else... sounds, at first, to be a somewhat spare affair, but the layers upon layers of Nobody's samples and idiosyncratic production techniques eventually make themselves evident the second and third times around.

The album features a number of guest appearances. Scott Herren, as Prefuse 73, is featured on "Tori Oshi." Mexican hip-hop artist Xololanxinco, of Of Mexican Descent, contributes his unique hybrid Spanish rap/spoken word vocal stylings to the track "Con un Relampago." Other tracks feature Mia Doi Todd and Beachwood Sparks bandmates Chris Gunst and Farmer Dave Scher, whose contribution to the cover of The Flaming Lips' "What is the Light?" is one of the highlights of the album. As a whole, however, the vocal tracks on And Everything Else... are sparsely proportioned between the much more prominently featured instrumentals.

And Everything Else...'s last four tracks, which begin with "Con un Relampago," form a suite of sorts. Ethnic vocals and melodies, along with classical and steel-stringed acoustic guitars playing, form the centerpiece of these tracks, which still remain true to the album's hip-hop template. It's a moody conclusion to an album which, overall, is atmospheric, provocative, and uplifting.

1. The Coast Is Clear (For Fireworks)
2. What Is The Light?
3. Spin the Bright Sun Rose
4. Go Go Interlude Go
5. Poor Angular Fellow
6. Tilijem's Forrest
7. You Can Know Her
8. Jose De La Rues!!!
9. Con Un Relampago
10. Wake Up And Smell The Millennium
11. Tori Oshi
12. Siesta Con Susana