Kolida Babo

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Kolida Babo | s/t
MIC (LP/DL)

This is the debut, self-titled from the Greek duo Kolida Babo (Socratis Votskos and Harris P). Originally recorded between 2013-16 and previously released in a shorter and slightly altered form in 2017 (on Teranga Beat), this is the first physical manifestation made available of this unique record which opens with the previously unavailable, The Epirus Lodge. Their sound matches electronics and Meditteranean influenced jazz in a stylish and very modern way. This intro piece is a bit of a snake charmer, sweetly agitated clarinet, lava-lamp-like synths, and lots of intrigue.

Also playing here, providing the well-balanced percussion is Nick Varelas on Armenian Dhol, Bendir, Daf. The wind instruments, here, are truly superb and in their own field – not since some off Klezmer music here and there have I heard something with such pronounced flourish – it’s a brightly colored fusion of swirling shapes. On Kolida Arabesque Varelas and Votskos pair in a bit of free harmonic conversation. While the impressionistic picture is delightfully painted Harris P is in control of seriously shaping the way in which they Join The Moog, that is to say, to compose the interconnectedness between the analogue and the electronic here. This track feels like a love song between the two, one that has a bit of a back alley detective story in silhouette nuance to it.

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The record seems to do well with keeping its fluidity between style, references (ambient, blues, folk, jazz, Cage) and instrumentation – without sounding at all schizophrenic. In fact, I’d imagine these eight tracks, used end to end, could easily morph into a short soundtrack for a variety of skits involving dancers as it moves with the same resilient drama that bodies in movement do. In one breath they offer shades of the long defunct Morphine, and then I hear some vaguely embedded John Zorn, but the blend is uniquely their own. Serenity is an impactful, lyrical work that I could imagine as a longplayer unto itself, running up to an hour. The layers are arranged to pop like springtime blooms, front-facing horns dip and move in an animated way while the steady drumming keeps pace. Finally, as they Exodus it’s as though a partly transparent glaze is being poured over a snowglobe, the spirit is moody and low-fi, the space is warm and dappled in variegated pastels.

Contemplative, contemporary, contagious.

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