Dobie - We Will Not Harm You (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
YOU couldn’t call Dobie prolific. But when he’s around with new material, it’s always interesting and diverse.
We Will Not Harm You, his first album since 1997’s The Sound of One Hand Clapping, offers 13 tracks of layered instrumentals that are based in hip-hop, but which touch on everything from Latin, house and techno to twostep, soul, funk and everything in between.
Little wonder, then, that it took 18 months to create!
The LP also sees Dobie combining his love of classic breaks with some of the most contemporary music-making techniques. Not everything works. And given the number of styles the album embraces, perhaps that’s not surprising.
But the album still manages to appeal ans hold the interest on many levels for the way in which it seamlessly fuses so many genres and offers something to suit every lots of moods and occasions.
Of the really good stuff, Stan Lee Is A Hero of Mine embraces a Chemical Brothers vibe and is a genuinely satisfying slice of funk-infused dance, Magenta contains a tremendous energy and Skit weaves some interesting vocal samples around slinky beats and electronics.
On The Corner of Ridley Road has a good rhythm to it and some interesting electronic arrangements to compliment its busy beats, while Snap, Crackle and Pop (my overall favourite) takes the spirit of breaking and adds some spaced out energy. It’s utterly compelling and totally hip.
Some of the more mundane material, however, occurs when accentuating the dance. Blip 124 has a techno vibe and, like all techno, seems to go on forever without doing very much, while She Moans combines house and dubstep to irritating effect.
The occasional dud track is epitomised by The I Woke Up, which is a bit of an ugly mess. Or psychotic mood music, as the Big Dada label describes it. But then Dobie’s desire to strive for the different can mean that tracks can split opinion even within the confines of a single song given how layered and shape-shifting some of them are.
Overall, then, We Will Not Harm You is a solid, always interesting listen that entertains for the most part. It’s also notable for its willingness to be different and continually surprising.
Download picks: The Beginning, Stan Lee Is A Hero of Mine, Magenta, On The Corner of Ridley Road, Snap, Crackle & Pop