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CD Album 2005 | Silber 041
9 tracks, 50 minutes
$12 ($18 international, $5 download (256 kbps, ~98 megs))
: Listen to the track Faint Echoes Ran Round the Unseen
: More info
Track Listing: Faint Echoes Ran Round the Unseen Hall (Part 1), Coined and Put into Circulation, Yellow Scales Slid across Oily Rolls of Flushed Skin, Interspersed with Semi-Conscious Moments, Anchored to a Central Core of Saturated Intensity, The Evening was Unusually Sultry and Heavy, This Inclusion Is Not a Simple Operation, The Existence of Another Goal, Such Variations Will Be Encountered Again

Dronesyndrome is the second album from Norwegian sound artists Kobi, the first being the 2003 album Projecto (see AI #23). The band is actually a collective, headed up by Kai Mikalsen who collaborates with what the promo sheet describes as "virtually the entire Norwegian experimental underground". Each of the 9 tracks on the CD consists of Mikalsen on sounds & synths, teamed up with a variety of artists on guitar, drums, bass, cello, dictaphone, turnatable and accordion.
My favorites tracks are the ones with Kjell Olav Jorgensen's drumming. "Faint Echoes Ran Round the Unseen Hall (Part I)" is a mixture of dark and eerily intense soundscapes with free-jazz drumming and percussion. And "Yellow Scales Slid Across Oily Roles of Flushed Skin" mix a free-improv jazz drumming style with bubbling spaced out underwater soundscapes. Most of the tracks are primarily ambient-drone centric, and all do a good job of blending avant-garde free-improv elements with exploratory sound-art and ambient excursions, and each transitions seamlessly from one to the next, making for a continuous 50 minute listening experience. Climb aboard and ride the drone wave.
~ Jerry Kranitz, Aural Innovations

This sophomore release from Norwegian artist Kobi certainly lives up to its predecessor.  This album runs more like a movie sondtrack than "a collection of great dance songs" or something to that effect.  While lacking in obvious musical scales, the songs form more of a landscape of tones, percussives, haunting keyboards & aching, ghostly squeal just beyond the perspective of the listener.  They have an incredible gift for the use of loops without being repetitive, if you can believe such things are possible.  This is a definite for the Ant-Zen & World Serpent listeners out there, & one of the best in Silber's Catalog.
~ Poseidon, Gothic Beauty

Norwegian experimental collective Kobi have released their second album Dronesyndrome through Silber. This comprises a mixture of drones and improvisation made with real instruments and electronically processed sounds. I'm normally someone who shies away from improvisational and non-melodic music, but I find that if this kind of experimentation is made by genuinely talented and creative artists (as this is), is atmospheric enough to be absorbing and engaging (as this is) and has ideas that differ from the usual experimental/drone/improv cliches (as this does), then all these ingredients actually make for an interesting listen. If you're looking for melodic music, this is not the place to be looking (except for those rare occasions such as in The Evening Was Unusually Sultry and Heavy, where a guitar melody is concealed within a whirl of noise), but for a well crafted piece of aural art with interesting ideas, look no further.
~ Kim Harten, blissaquamarine

Dronesyndrome is the second release from Norway’s Kobi; the musical collective also put out Projecto in 2003. Kobi is essentially Kai Mikalsen, and it is he who provides the “sounds and synths” that are then layered with the contributions of several musicians who lend drums, guitar, cello, accordion, turntable, and various other “sounds” that populate these nine bizarre musical landscapes. The clever song titles are great descriptors of the various musical “pieces,” if you will. “Yellow Scales Slip Across Oily Rolls of Flushed Skin” features chirpy reptilian sounds amidst percussion and murky, yet forlorn fog horn echoes—kinda what the song title implies. “Interspersed with Semi-Conscious Moments” has technical musical dashes mixed into more dreamy (or more nightmarish, as in Kobi’s case) moments—although it is up to the listener to discern which represents the conscious and semi-conscious. The cover art by Mikalsen depicts spooky creatures in deep grays and smudged black and creates yet another other worldly stratum to these almost primal, and yes, droning soundscapes that are best experienced rather than explained.
~ Anne Johnson, Altar Magazine

An equally intense music is creates by the Norwegian drone collective Kobi on their splendid album Dronesyndrome which mixes electronically processed sounds with “real” instruments (cello, double bass, guitar) to create a wonderfully textured and ever-changing soundscape that brings to mind ancient woodlands, ghost ships becalmed on vast oceans, and all manner of surreal images, as it plays. Two years in the making, the album has been lovingly crafted, the sparseness, textures and use of silence as equally as important as the scales or melodic devices utilised, something beautifully realised on “Yellow Scales Slid Across Oily Rolls Of Flushed Skin” a track which adds stuttering snare to the palette. This is an album that bears close scrutiny, each subtle nuance adding a different emphasis to the sounds meaning that it sounds fresh every time it is played, what you hear being determined as much by your mood and activity as by the music itself.
~ Simon Lewis, Ptolemaic Terrascope

Kobi are a Norwegian collective, headed up by Kai Mikalsen, who play ominous drone based music with a strong improv element.  Within the semi-abstract construction of these tracks are features that make them work as individual pieces as well as successive parts of a larger whole.  Characterised by angular noises & pulsing aquatic forms, underpinned by the click & grind of machine noise & spontaneous bursts of percussion.  Kobi’s music has a tough questing edge.  This sets it apart from the more sedate drift of ambient drone, even if it ultimately fails to offer much beyond its own obsessive & gloomy intensity.
~ Tom Ridge, The Wire

For practitioners of ambient drone music, there is a danger of creating a situation that leads to built in obsolescence. How do you make composition after composition of slowly evolving drones without duplicating yourself, without making the listener wish you'd just released an EP and been done with it?
Fortunately, Norwegian dronemeisters Kobi, led by Kai Mikalsen, are sensitive to this concern. They weave one sonic landscape after another of gradually evolving drones, but are sure to supply subtle shifts of texture and instrumentation to differentiate them. Effects-laden guitars and Mikalsen's synthetics are accompanied by a wide range of sounds, from the "dinosaur moans" and murmuring percussion of "Yellow Scales" to spoken word passages on "This Inclusion is not a Simple Operation." The result is nearly an hour of intriguing, often spooky, music that is anything but homogeneous.
~ Christian Carey, The Daily Copper

Organic, free-flowing, beautiful, Kobi's Dronesyndrome travels amongst meditative moods of calm, interweaving improvisatory dialogues with droning soundscapes. Like a carefully detailed relief map, the sounds glide gracefully over a varied landscape, creating intricate and compelling textures infused with the spontaneity of improvisation and the careful mixing of electronic and acoustic sound sources.
Mellowed synthetics and soft electronic loops create a backdrop for distant lines of guitar, percussion, and strings. The textures shift with enough movement to keep the music interesting, and despite the implication of "drone" in the title, the complexion of Dronesyndrome is actually quite varied.
As an electro-acoustic work, Kobi achieves a perfect balance of color and seamless intermingling of acoustic instruments, electronics, and natural sounds. The percussion and string instrument performances are of particular note . . . scraping, rummaging, pulsing; adding dimension and topography to the recording.
Inevitably the nature of Dronesyndrome is searching . . . unresolved. But the journey is one amongst many smaller moments of truth, satisfaction.
~ Static Signals

Kobi's second album corrects most of the shortcomings found on Projecto. This time, Kai Mikalsen's rich drones and electronics leave more room to the revolving cast of contributors. Except for the Jazzkammer guys, the guests appearing on the first album are all back on Dronesyndrome. From Per Gisle Galåen's turntables spew strange monologues ("This Inclusion Is Not a Simple Operation"); Bjarne Larsen's rumbling arco bass carries "Yellow Scales Slid Across Oily Rolls of Flushed Skin" into the nether regions of the auditable spectrum; Fredrik Ness Sevendal's guitar is crucial to the disquieting bliss of "Anchored to a Central Core of Saturated Intensity" and "The Evening Was Unusually Sultry and Heavy."  Most of the tracks involve three players, two are duets, but who knows if they were performed live with all musicians present in the same room at the same time, or if they are not instead the result of minute studio assemblages -- there are passages pointing to both directions. The music flows seamlessly from one track to the next, players coming in and stepping out like it was all a long continuous improvisation, and there you have another reason why this album is superior to the previous one. It still makes for a rather dry, abstract album. These drones don¹t grip you at a cellular level, as with artists like Aidan Baker or Troum, but they feature enough artistry in their composition and plenty of puzzling sounds to warrant repeated listens.
~ François Couture, All-Music Guide

There must be something embedded within the cultures of Northern European countries that brings out the austere and extreme of musical talent.
Perhaps it is the fact that the mid winter seasons are sparse of light, or their climate leaves for bitter temperatures, which in turn nurture bitter musical rhythms.
Either way, haunting, experimental, extreme, droning and visceral are all perfect adjectives of what to expect from the best of Scandinavian music and Kobi are no exception to the rule. In fact they come close to the reason the rule exists!
Norwegian nationals, Kobi is the accumulation of founder Kai Mikalsen, Fredrik Ness Sevendal, Per Gisle Galaen, Kjell Olav Jorgensen, Petter Pogo, Bjarne Larsen, Jon Birger Wormdahl, Tore H. Boe and Michael Duch.
And if you thought that list had some long names then just check out their song titles with such ‘beauties’ as “Anchored To a Central Core of Saturated Intensity” and “The Evening Was Unusually Sultry and Heavy”.
On first glance such song titles might bring preconceptions of affectation as oppose to talent. However, if you think Kobi are overcompensating for lack of substance than think again as you will be whisked to another world with Dronesyndrome, Kobi’s second album to date.
Take your first tentative steps into the realm of Dronesyndrome with “Faint Echoes Ran Round The Unseen Hall (Part One)”, the first track on the album. Its brooding mystical sound will lead you down a discordant corridor filled with anticipation and edge via Kobi’s myriad of instruments, both electric and acoustic.
“Coined And Put Into Circulation” emerges neatly into an ambient sound reminiscent of Esa Ruoho’s groundbreaking work, as wave after wave of electronic serenity increases in volume – all the while hinting at a darkness beneath the surface with faint hisses and clicks in the background.
“Interspersed with Semi-conscious Moments” begins with surreal, Aphex Twin sounding beats and loops that casually progress with hisses, creaks, hums drones, and echoes that sound like knives being slowly sharpened. Gaseous noises, like steam escaping from pipes, help conspire to create a sound chilling and industrial.
Imagine walking through an abandoned factory only for the machines to suddenly warm up and begin to operate around you, and you’re close to the feeling this track provides. “This Inclusion Is Not A Simple Operation” is yet another powerful track. Centred around an old scratched recording of a folk tale, “This Inclusion…” acts like another menacing prelude to an unseen event.
This stimulation of thoughts forms the precise beauty of Dronesyndrome; that the sounds conjured play on your psyche, providing just enough atmosphere for you to create any malign scenario within the minds eye.
So go ahead, purchase this album, press play and see where Kobi takes you. It will be a creepy, surreal place, that is certain, but it will be one you’ll want to return to again and again.
Truly inspired!
~ Michael Riley, Left Hip

Like Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music or Richard Young's Advent, this album must be listened in total to get the full effect. As when listening to the other records, patience is rewarded; one can achieve an altered state through the music alone. Kobi is a Norwegian collective run by Kai Mikalsen. The music is a combination of electronically processed sounds of common objects and acoustic based instruments such as cello, double bass, accordion & guitar.
The music itself is extremely subtle. It compares to listening to ocean waves or the rumbling of an air conditioning unit. The sound seems repetitive at first, but slowly becomes more and more transfixing. The record itself was mastered at a low volume. I think this record would greatly benefit from play on large speakers. I am sure on a large sound system this disc could be utterly transportive.
The song titles read like they went through the translation tool on AltaVista one too many times. The result is intentionally or unintentionally funny song titles such as "Yellow Scales Slid Across Oily Rolls of Flushed Skin" and "Faint Echoes Ran Round the Unseen Hall (Part 1)". The song titles themselves are unimportant because the whole disc acts as one sound piece. There is a constant subtle, subterranean percussion that runs through all the songs. Sometimes, a guitar feedback growls and bowed strings moan as electronics gurgle and whir in the background. Sometimes the sounds build up to a would be climax, but the music never quite reaches it.
The song "Anchored to a Central Core of Saturated Intensity" begins a journey which employs disembodied voices that call out from the muddy sonic soup. Fractured guitar notes repeat as a feedback-whirlwind rushes over high-pitched squeals. A low rumble joins the mix. The sound becomes more and more dense. It enters an almost Dadahmah like territory before slowly fading out to a person reading a children's story on the song "This Inclusion is not a simple Operation." If one is not looking directly at the CD display it is hard to tell where one song starts and another ends. As one listens, the divisions between songs become less and less important. Kobi's music to be fully satisfying requires ones full attention. Close, committed listening is rewarded with quite a fascinating voyage.
~ Dan Cohoon, Amplitude Equals One Over Frequency Squared

Upon first inspection I thought Kobi to be a Japanese band, due to the bands name meaning something like flattery in Japanese and the Japanese character on the front cover certainly made me curious as well. However as it turns out Kobi is a Norwegian band put together by Kai Mikalsen and featuring several other musicians from bands like Origami Arktika, Jazzkammer, Salvatore, and quite a few others.
As the title of the album might suggest, Kobi specializes in droning experimental ambient music. At times Kobi reminds me of artists like Aeoga or Halo Manash, but never comes close to sounding as dark as those ambient creators. At other times I’m inclined to think that perhaps Kai was influenced by older ambient artists like Steve Roach or Vidma Obmana, but never does Kobi sound exactly like any other ambient artists I’ve heard, and I certainly appreciate them a bit more for that. The music as I’ve already stated is rather far from being melodic and just slowly drones away using both synthesizers and guitars. There is also some use of drums, cello, and even accordion on this album.
The first four songs are fairly normal ambient tracks, but something creepy happens by the fifth song. Suddenly the album takes on a much more sinister mood with undistinguishable voices in the background and what also might be sounds from a lake late at night. This carries on through to the eighth song and then calms down for the final song. It gives me the feeling of wandering through some fog covered forest next to a large lake where only the sounds of nature can heard. Eerie stuff indeed. If droning ambient like this interests you then I invite you to take this journey with Kai and his collective of musicians.
~ Joe Mlodik, Lunar Hypnosis

Of all the experimental electronic artists of the twenty-first century, Norway's Kobi just may be the best. The only other modern act that we can compare them to is Sigur Ros. Dronesyndrome features nine compositions that are wonderfully rich with atmosphere. It may be difficult to recognize any familiar instruments as the folks in Kobi mutate and change sounds and instruments to suit their needs. Recorded over a two year period, this album was created by Kai Mikalsen, Fredrik Ness Sevendal, Per Gisle Galaen, Kjell Olav Jorgensen, Petter Pogo, Bjarne Larsen, Jon Birger Wormdahl, Tore H. Boe, and Michael Duch. To the untrained ear, these recordings may sound like abstract noodling. But more astute listeners will notice absorbing nuances and intriguing subtleties laced into these tracks. True to the claim of the accompanying press release, this album "sounds better the louder and longer you listen to it." Mind blowing experiments...and they all work. Includes "Faint Echoes Ran Round the Unseen Hall (Part 1)," "Anchored to a Central Core of Saturated Intensity," "The Existence of Another Goal" and more. Highly recommended.
~ Babysue

Blending haunting atmospherics with percussive elements and spatial experimentation, Norwegian experimental/drone collective Kobi are here with their second release, Dronesyndrome. Shunning many of the ideas and restrictions associated with traditional formal musicality, the group, fronted by Kai Mikalsen, combine processed loops of electronic origin with found sounds and more organic instrumentation, also heavily processed. The album's nine tracks, adding up to over 50 minutes, flow together to form one long, cohesive piece.
Most of the tracks here, while instrumentally and sonically separate, carry a similar, almost tangible watery quality and share a similar broad spatial sense. Many are also commonly unsettling, dissonant organic swirls, unpredictable percussion, and familiar yet alien electronics and processed sounds/instruments providing a dark and eerie framework. "Faint Echoes Ran Round the Unseen Hall (Part 1)" is an appropriate introduction, heavily percussive albeit random, uneasy sonic swells bubbling up into a dark, lush sound. A heartbeat-like background loop provides the percussive drive for "Coined and Put Into Circulation" before its low-key ambience evolves into a spatially wider, less coherent blend of ambience and noise.
"Yellow Scales Slid Across Oily Rolls of Flushed Skin", on the other hand, is one of the disc's sparser, more noise-oriented offerings, an eight-and-a-half minute blend of processed electronic squeals and underlying, ever-changing percussion anchored by minimal low-pitched sounds. The following "Interspersed with Semi-Conscious Moments", even longer at nearly eleven minutes, continues in a similar noise-oriented fashion, replacing the electronic squeals of the former with more organic percussive and metallic sounds and, eventually, disconcerting string drones.
"Anchored to a Central Core of Saturated Intensity", the shortest track here, is also one of the most disturbing, a primal drone beneath a steady, reverb-drenched seemingly pre-recorded spoken word passage and strong spatial atmospherics. "The Evening was Unusually Sultry and Heavy", another rather impressive track, continues the drone of the former but throws in moody, melodic guitar and increasing strong distortion and noise elements as the track slowly folds in upon itself. An oddly mesmerizing spoken text about the coming of spring and the hunting and fishing traditions of a native population comes to the forefront on "This Inclusion is Not a Simple Operation". Its layered drones and watery noise fade into the background and grow into "The Existence of Another Goal" as the text loops and fades. The closing "Such Variations Will Be Encountered Again" returns to minimalism and noise, random string notes and scrapes atop percussive noise and subtle loops.
Both sonically interesting and emotionally effective, Kobi's Dronesyndrome is a rather compelling work. While its appeal may be largely limited to those with more experimental tastes, its haunting, uneasy soundscapes and cold, watery, unsettling atmospherics are oddly mesmerizing and powerful. Those interested in the darker side of drone shouldn't miss this one.
~ Joshua Heinrich, Grave Concerns

Norwegian Kobi is primarily the work of Kai Mikalsen, but Dronesyndrome shows how closely knit the Norwegian underground scene is as it includes contributions from a number of the most capable Norwegian droneheads and improvisers. Dronesyndrome is just like the title suggests an ocean-deep, slightly claustrophobic drone affair that is almost collage-like in its overall structure. I realize that I use that term loosely here as we’re talking about microscopic fragments and densely knit drone webs. Found sounds wrestle gently with conventional instruments like cello, double bass, accordion and guitar, but it’s rather the feel of a consistent and cohesive whole that best describes this darkly seducing drone machine.
~ Mats Gustafson, The Broken Face

Dronesyndrome, the work by Kobi, is a work not far removed by the more structured aural designs of Steve Roach, whose tribal drum signatures stamp his ambient masterpieces with a war-like feel. Kobi supplies smaller lengths of tracks than Roach, but still allowing for rich development of their soundscapes and intents. And like Vidna Obmana’s works of oppressive darkness, Kobi synthesizes insectile life within the canvas of their music making the location more frightening, more alarmingly populated, and more eerily productive; it’s a world that breathes and rhythmically pulses but its inhabitants hate.
Dronesyndrome is, by and large, a foreboding work employing voice (may have been more effective as an alien language to English, or, at the least, an unintelligible language) in several tracks. It is also individualistic in nature, as if we’re observing singular entities rather than many. But it is the ambient textures that define the recording and reveals shades of dread throughout.
~ Matt Rowe, Music Tap

1 ambient noise, subtle rhythms, guitar and feedback
2 minimal scraping, water, metal, ebow, harmony
3 subtle ethnic influences, tension, more noisy towards the end
4 a bit like Troum towards the end, gorgeous stone / metal sounds
5 voices, undefined sounds, short track
6 guitar, rhythm, experiment, secretly very beautiful; sometimes a bit like Cindytalk
7 minimale noise scape based on voices on a manipulated tape recorder
8 continues where 7 stopped. more drone, less noise, more manipulations with the tape deck
9 ultra minimal sounds; very nice alienating closing track
Conclusion: If you are into Scandinavian avant-garde and electro-acoustics, this is an absolute must! That's all, no nagging, buy!
~Bauke, Gothronic

Listening to Kobi's Dronesyndrome feels like the audio equivalent of attempting an archaeological dig in some blasted, godforsaken land. The group - a Norwegian sound collective led by Kai Mikalsen - has proved quite adept at creating thoroughly affecting and transporting soundscapes that transport listeners to surreal, alien, and dark territories. But whereas their previous album, 2002's Projecto was rather inconsistent and ran out of steam halfway through, Dronesyndrome remains consistently strong and foreboding throughout its entire length.
Those familiar with Supersilent's obtuse jazz stylings will find much to appreciate during Dronesyndrome's early moments. "Faint Echoes Ran Round The Unseen Hall (Part 1)" recalls the spacier, more atmospheric moments on Supersilent's 6. Clattering drums and brushed cymbals attempt to provide some semblance of rhythm and structure to the roiling drones, shrieking strings, and spectral horns swirling ominously around, only to fail miserably and be blown aside like so much straw.
It's an almost impenetrable piece, and yet that's the very thing that makes it so intriguing, the way that it paints a photo of some completely foreign, unexplored place, a territory full of secrets too terrible to know.
Can you tell I've been watching too much "Lost"?
But the disc continues, the listener makes it through somehow, and as "Interspersed With Semi-Conscious Moments" unfolds, one hears the sounds of scraping and digging growing and growing, the sounds of excavation. And yet, the percussion creeping around the song's edge hints at unseen watchers, ghosts of ancient tribes looking over their lands. Warning, perhaps, that things are about to be unearthed that should remain buried.
But "Anchored To A Central Core Of Saturated Intensity" reveals that the Pandora's Box has been opened. Spiralling tendrils of sound begin filling the space around, slowly at first, but with increasing speed and volume. And worst of all, ghostly voices can be heard, playing out processions and marches, whispering of longlost ceremonies and rites. The dread begins taking shape on the aptly-titled "The Evening Was Unusually Sultry And Heavy", as heavy electronics begin playing something approaching actual music, but music full of gloom and portent nonetheless.
H.P. Lovecraft would be pleased.
At this point, given the almost primeval atmosphere that Kobi has conjured up with their music, it might seem odd to hear the sample of some scientist or other narration an ancient hunting ritual. And yet, the events described would fit perfectly within the territory hinted at by Kobi's dark ambience. Rather than prove distracting, the narration actually lends credence and reality to the dark times and places conjured up by Kobi's dronework. The narration takes on a life of itself, much like a waking dream, so surreal is it.
Dronesyndrome is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a pleasant recording to listen to. But it is a thoroughly involving one, as Kobi's use of electro-acoustics, processed samples and synthesizers, and more traditional instrumentation, conjuring up powerful and stirring imagery within the listener's imagination.
And unlike some artists, who might attempt to assuage the listener with a relaxing, reassuring denouement - perhaps a lovely, ethereal passage that serves a light at the tunnel's end - Kobi remains fiercely committed to their arcane ways, even if it means leaving the listener in a more alien and uncertain place than where they began.
~ Jason Morehead, Opus

This Norwegian drone collective built around the sounds and synth of Kai Mikalsen; may be wearing their hearts on their sleeves with a title like this, but it sure lives up to it. Spacious distance and slowly unfolding clusters of tones; very much like exploring an acoustic/electronic sonic swamp. Moody meandering frog like drums and insects flying in small delicately buzzing clouds. As it gets dark the vibe gets more ominous, soon mysterious shadows spread across the landscape. As human voices start to appear we are overhearing them, perhaps it’s random telepathic bleed, or EVP nervously knocking from the next dimension.
~ George Parsons, Dream Magazine

Layers of deep drones and pulsating electro-acoustic manipulation. Listen closely and you'll discover whole worlds of subtle aural beauty that as a whole creates one of the most well crafted and enticing drone albums I've heard in a while. Improvisation and experimentation at its finest by Kai Mikalsen and his Norwegian crew.
~ Everything is Fire

Choosing such a title is, me thinks, a bit boring and also perhaps guiding the listener into what he can expect. I may not be proven right in the first case, but drones is what you get. Kobi is a collective of musicians from Norway, run by Kai Mikalsen. Per track different people play, in different combinations. Primarily everybody plays instruments like guitar, cello, drums but Mikalsen is the one who plays synths and 'sounds'. These sound must be understood as 'electro-acoustics (processed sounds from common objects'), which are melted with the drone-like material played by the other musicians. The processed sounds are very hard to define, as is much of the music on this CD. Much of the music is played in an improvised way, and it seems to me, not recorded very well. The music is quite 'muddy', or 'muffled' everything sounds very much in one dynamic range, with not much care for the color of the sound. The idea of mixing real instruments with electro-acoustic sounds is very much a nice idea, which deserved to be better worked out. Still fans of early nineties Illusion Of Safety might find their pleasure here, as this CD isn't very bad either. Just some more production work was needed.
~ Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly

Deux sorties simultanées sur Silber Records (le label de Lycia) et très ressemblantes l'une de l'autre dans un genre atmosphérique expérimental. Kobi est un collectif norvégien d'une quinzaine de musiciens qui jouent avec les bruits des machines et ceux d'instruments réels (guitare, percussions...). Neuf de ces musiciens et deux années de labeur ont pu donner naissance à ce deuxième opus (deuxième album en effet pour Kobi mais loin d'une récente mise à l'épreuve pour les musiciens qui composent le collectif !). Très sombre, presque dérangeant, Dronesyndrome est à écouter d'une traite, à haut volume et à plusieurs reprises pour en saisir tout l'intérêt. Le titre "Anchored to a Central Core of Saturated Intensity" (oui tous les noms de l'album sont aussi longs !) est particulièrement angoissant et l'on entend nettement l'apport qualitatif des deux types d'instrumentation. On sent tout de même un travail de recherche artistique tellement professionnel qu'il s'adressera davantage aux connaisseurs. De son côté, If Thousand, duo américain à l'origine mais complété pour cet album par d'autres instrumentistes (un rapprochement vers le collectif également donc), semble appréhender la chose de manière plus abordable même par le plus novice d'entre nous en matière d'expérimentations sonores. Leur I Have Nothing est proche de Dronesyndrome de Kobi en cela qu'il apporte au moulin de nos torpeurs de l'eau viciée et bel et bien vibrante. Mais leur mélange pluri-instrumental à eux donne un résultat plus mélodique, planant et touchant, moins sombre en tous cas et orienté davantage vers des contrées indiennes que nordiques.
~ Dawn, From Dusk till Dawn

Kobi est une formation norvégienne, à effectif variable, pilotée par un certain Kai Mikalsen, et qui explore les sphères planantes, d’un ambiant glacé et expérimental à coup de samples, de nappes gelées, de percussions diffuses en arrière-plan et de drones sombres et lugubres, le tout digne de ces hivers polaires prisonniers d’une nuit terne et sans limites, aux paysages de glaces concassées, tordues et acérées.
On retrouve ainsi parmi les contributeurs des membres de Origami Arktika, Slowburn, Salvatore, Jazzkammer ou Rishaug Marhaug, toute une intelligentsia locale du groupe.
Dronesyndrome est un disque particulièrement sombre et presque malade, aux effets secondaires assez similaires à ceux d’une fièvre, bouche pâteuse, incapacité de se fixer l’esprit sur quelque chose et l’impression d’être dans un état second, légèrement malsain. Au-delà de cet état de choses et s’il s’agit du but visé par l’artiste et attendu par ses auditeurs, Dronesyndrome est un disque pour le moins réussi.
~ Didier Goudeseune, Derives

Kai Mikalsen nerad mluví o svém projektu jako o skupin?. Spíše Kobi p?irovnává k prostoru pro aktivní setkávání a improvizaci norských um?lc?, p?edevším z okruhu hnutí Origami Republika. Jak už název druhého alba napovídá, v následujících padesáti minutách budeme mít co do?in?ní s hlukem. Ovšem hlukem ne jen tak ledajakým. Hmatatelná improvizace hudebník? v duu ?i triu (s Kaiem a jeho "sounds and synth" jako neodmyslitelnou jednotkou v každé skladb?) jsou ?ízenou elektroakustickou h?í?kou momentu. Výsledný tvar ob?as p?ipomene sou?asný sound Zapomenutého orchestru zem? snivc?, vždy ovšem ve skandinávském podání, kde cítíme v??n? ševelící vítr, praskající ledovce a v?ni podmá?ených luk. Kytara, cello, bicí, basa a další elektroakustické elementy jsou hojn? prorostlé drobnými ko?ínky r?zn? pok?ivených nálad vycházejících k Mikalsenovy zvukové databanky. P?irozen? a pevn?. Z blízkého p?ístavu k nám doléhá hlas lodní sirény dvakrát zlomený o p?íkré st?ny hlubokých fjord? a hlomoz zp?sobený p?ekládáním nákladu z pr?myslových bárek na b?eh. Dev?t improvizací je dev?t obraz? podzimního Norska. Zem?, kterou ve zkracujících se dnech ?ekají b?hem studených deš?? první p?ívaly mokrého sn?hu. Výsledný tvar je nepoddajnou hroudou, jež nezaujme na zb?žný poslech. Koláž improviza?ních nálad chce, stejn? jako u desek od koleg? z Runne Gramophon, sv?j ?as. Teprve pak se poddá a je schopna vydat své plody. Jako kamenitá p?da norských podhorských polí.
~ Pavel Zelinka,