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Shob: Karma Obscur

Do you remember the last time you thought, “…oh, I haven’t listened to that bass guitar album in ages!” No, in truth neither can I. However that’s something that French bass player Shob is looking to change, the man who has collaborated with everyone from Patrick Rondat (G3) and PapaGuyo (Sly & Family Stone) to Roger Biwandu (Zawinul Syndicate) and Patrick Bebey turning the spotlight on the bass, while also looking to bring you so much more. Karma Obscur is his second solo album and it has to be said that every effort has been made to make it as eclectic as it possibly can be.

Being described as dark funk, that phrase is, supposedly, more a reference to Shob’s state of mind when he wrote the album, than it is about the music itself. Although, with this being a bass driven collection, you won’t be too surprise no know that funk is never far away. Sometimes that manifests in the aggressive attack of “Action Mutante”, sometimes in the skat and slap of “Hors D’oeuvre” and sometimes in the shape of the intense and soaring title track itself. You’ll also encounter crazy beatbox parts from Beasty, the soul vocals (although much of the album is instrumental) of Laurene P Magnini, huge drum parts from Morgan Berthet, the stinging guitar work of Pierre Danel and African percussion courtesy of Ludo Lesage. So, as we covered earlier, eclecticism is undoubtedly the order of the day, however Shob’s bass work stands tall and proud, combining all the different elements into an album that has real flow and pace. His work is ebullient, it’s sparky and it’s impressive, and yet what it is more than anything else is sympathetic to its surrounds, even if Shob and his bass are always at the forefront of what you hear.

Whenever you visit Karma Obscur, there’s always something new to experience, something different to discover and something previously not spotted to take in. It’s darting, daring and varied and yet, even with all of that in mind, there’s also no denying that it’s niche, idiosyncratic and challenging. Will I be thinking of reaching for this bass guitar album often? In truth, probably not, but Shob and his incredibly talented cast do make it a close run thing.

Track Listing
1. Hors d'oeuvre
2. Straight Ahead
3. Except I'm 65
4. Enclosures
5. Karma Obscur
6. Rusty Dog
7. The right move
8. Green Elephant
9. The Professor
10. Divergence
11. Action Mutante
12. Dissection
13. Sulfur

Added: June 19th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Shob at bandcamp
Hits: 1193
Language: english

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Shob: Karma Obscur
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2018-06-20 05:20:20
My Score:

Shob is a French bass player and was unbeknownst to me until I received his latest disc Karma Obscur for review. The musician has plenty of help on the album with multiple vocalists, keyboardists and brass instrumentation. The press release describes this music as ‘Dark Funk’ as relating to the musicians mindset when writing this material. The album is certainly funk but touches on other genres like metal, jazz, hip hop and fusion.

Although the bass shines throughout the album, Shob is an exceptionally talented musician, there is quite a lot of variety as exhibited in the first few tracks. The album begins with “Hors d’oeuvre” with its fat funky bass line and heavy percussion supplemented with some adept beat boxing. Next is “Straight Ahead” beginning with a pulsating bass riff and thick groove. The fuzzy toned bass and guitar along with smooth electric piano hints of fusion before a tempo shift brings on some heavy metal riffage. The band really ramp up the heaviness near song’s end. On the varied “Except I’m 65”, metal, soul and hip hop combined with the soul infused vocals of Laurené Pierre Magnani makes for an interesting sound. The wild guitar pyrotechnics will have your senses reeling. With “Enclosures” more funk and fusion sounds along with a good dollop of horns makes for another good track. There are nine more tunes for you to discover if you feel the need for some deep grooves.

While Karma Obscur will surely appeal to many bass players in the audience, I think there will be others who will dig this as well. Of course, if you are at all into funky grooves you should give this a spin.

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