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thoughts on Cobra
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meanchico
meanchico
2696 posts

thoughts on Cobra

it amuses me that the album has been coined "a long train ride to hell." it makes me like it more. it's amazing how much they packed into this album. can you think of another album that has similar criticisms, but still has so much merit (I do think Cobra is glorious).

I wonder if people would've been a lot more forgiving of Cobra if they would've cut out Blue Milk? I think Caleidoscopic Gaze would've been sufficient. it's a much better long-winded effort. it's pretty ballsy that they included both. I do enjoy how Velvet Water and Blue Milk sound next to each other. speaking of...

Velvet Water is so out of place, but has an unexpected balancing effect. I can't remove it from my sleepy playlist. I try, but then it's back within a month. I read in an interview that it was suggested that Laetitia sing this while playing solo. I wish she would.

Italian Shoes Continuum makes me feel like I'm on drugs. thinking of the title while listening to it makes me smirk. I bet Laetitia has nice shoes.

Blips, Drips and Strips pisses off my friends. they get all eye-rolley whenever it comes on. I refuse to turn it off.

Busta Rhymes' sampling of Come and Play in the Milky Night is peculiar. I appreciate the fact that he liked the loop enough to use it, but his song sucks in comparison.

I often forget about Spiracles for some reason; perhaps because it's more subtle in comparison to what surrounds it.

I think Fuses serves as a very honest warning for what you're about to encounter. no beating around the bush with this one. smoking kills and Cobra overwhelms.

Le Aimes Des Memes is a really awesome b-side. I'm surprised it's not mentioned more here.

Aug 26, 2011, 21:29


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blythewords
36 posts

Re: thoughts on Cobra

that was one of my best album listens.

now i dont 'get it'

oh how the years have gone by!

Aug 26, 2011, 22:14


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Hobobachang
Hobobachang
2130 posts

Re: thoughts on Cobra

Yay! A post about Stereolab, aheheh :)

Cobra is a fantastic album for sure, in fact I prefer it to Dots & Loops but it's still slightly behind Sound Dust for me. I think of that trilogy as kind of phase 3 of the groop (phase 1 = everything up to Transient, phase 2 = MAQ / ETK, phase 4 = after Mary).

And you didn't even mention "Puncture in the Radax Permutation", one of my all time 'lab faves....I still vividly remember rushing home to listen to the LP for the first time, and after that song finished I was completely blown away and had to put the needle back like twice just to listen to it again. Where all the bad press came from for this album I have no idea, I sometimes wonder if anybody who doesn't like it has even listened to it more than a couple times.

For any other Cobra lovers you can enjoy your own special Cobra flavoured forum via the following recipe:

http://www.stereolab.co.uk/forum/stereolab/topic/992/flat/

Aug 26, 2011, 22:15


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meanchico
meanchico
2696 posts

Re: thoughts on Cobra

Mary/Puncture...

how could I forget!?! I really love the lyrics and think of this as the a highpoint as far as Mary goes. I think it's one of the earthier tracks on the album. it grounds it after spinning out of control at the beginning just before it spins out of control again.

I also agree with your sentiments about giving it more than one or two listens. there's so much to process here. it's impossible not to get overloaded for the first few spins. I love this album as a whole, but it took a very long time to come to that. I think it helped that I first purchased this album when I was in the midst of my crazy year and half of wild living. I'd often throw this on while partying with fellow music enthusiasts with great drug connections.

Aug 26, 2011, 22:25


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Stereo Mouse
Stereo Mouse
634 posts

Re: thoughts on Cobra

Funny enough, I was just thinking about this album a couple of hours ago: it does combine a whole host of non-rock musical influences (jazz-fusion, free-jazz, lounge/exotica, perhaps even a tinge of prog here and there) and certainly, it's far too complex for the three chords and guitar rock crowds. I'm pretty sure that for this whole aforementioned Phase 3 trilogy, you can paraphrase Jonathan Coe's (the writer of Rotters Club) assessment of prog music that "if you judge it by the standards of rock'n'roll then it fails" and that it's not rock, for its "ethos is completely different".

Maybe that's why Cobra is so reviled that its' ethos is completely the opposite of what is normally expected from music nowadays (read: simplistic riffs, straight 4/4, basic guitar-bass-drums arrangement or simplistic techno beats or whatever)?

Aug 27, 2011, 01:19


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Stereo Mouse
Stereo Mouse
634 posts

Re: thoughts on Cobra

meanchico wrote:
can you think of another album that has similar criticisms, but still has so much merit (I do think Cobra is glorious).


King Crimson's "Lizard" comes to mind. Again, this is probably the KC's album most removed from rock
(along with "Islands"), but I think the combination of guest horn players as well as Keith Tippett's complex pianos (both acoustic & electric) mesh quite well with Fripp's mellotron. Again there's a bit of a free-jazz influence present and for the three-chord guitar rock crowds the instrumentation may be just as dull as that of Cobra, but I guess I'm quite a sucker for this avant-jazzy bits incorporated into artier end of pop music.

Aug 27, 2011, 01:25


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nsc283b
405 posts

Re: thoughts on Cobra

I think it's a pretty good album. Not their best, but certainly not their worst. As you say, it's better than Dots, but not as good as Sound-Dust. For me, the stand out tracks are Blue Milk and Come And Play In The Milky Night.

Aug 27, 2011, 01:44


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Cheeso
Cheeso
642 posts

Re: thoughts on Cobra

Stereo Mouse wrote:


Maybe that's why Cobra is so reviled that its' ethos is completely the opposite of what is normally expected ...?

No, it's mostly because it's boring.

Aug 27, 2011, 02:56


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Stereo Mouse
Stereo Mouse
634 posts

Re: thoughts on Cobra

Quite frankly, all music is boring...to someone's ears. You might be bored with Cobra and then find that someone else is bored with whatever are your favorite albums from 1999.

Aug 27, 2011, 02:59


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deadlyfingers
deadlyfingers
1218 posts

Re: thoughts on Cobra

I've still never enjoyed "Blue Milk". I think it probably would have worked much better on an EP, where it could have taken precedence instead of feeling so much like a rude interruption. "Soop Groove #1" and the second half of "(varoom!)" feel similar to me in that they just wouldn't have worked as well on full-length albums.

Aug 27, 2011, 03:07

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