King Cobb Steelie

An anti-commercialism, community-minded collective of musicians, King Cobb Steelie play alternative rock that is a jumble of sampling, scratching, world music instruments and studio sorcery, showing a flair for seamless ecclecticism. Far from being a band that grafts diverse influences onto a Western rock sound, these musicians compose organic, holistic pieces that also create spaces for rich improvistional digressions during live shows. Their first CD, S/T (1993, Raw Energy Records/ A&M), which includes some scratching and samples, introduced KCS as a punk band with knee-deep grooves- a kind of superfreak Fugazi. KCS's next effort was Project Twinkle (1994, Lunamoth), a spacier, bassier dub-jazz groove shower that demonstrated a Bill Laswell musical influence on the band (Laswell also produced the CD). This work has an emphasis on instrumental/ electronic sounds over vocals and jangly guitars. Exploring more electronic sounds than ever, KCS experimented with beats on Junior Relaxor (1997, EMI Canada). Martina Topley-Bird (Tricky's singing partner) - influenced vocals and Trip-Hop stylings indicated yet another stage of evolution for the band, recapturing the edge of their live performances but keeping a low-key groove. King Cobb Steelie, with their expert use of Dub, Trip-Hop, Punk, Rock and Funk, are one of the few groups who can meld and interplay such influences with simple grace. Mayday followed in early 2001. ~ Lisa Schwartzman

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