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Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night

StereolabAudio CD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)


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MP3 Music, 15 Songs, 2009 $9.49  
Audio CD, 1999 --  

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 21, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Elektra
  • ASIN: B00001P4OP
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,835 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Fuses
2. People Do It All The Time
3. The Free Design
4. Blips Drips And Strips
5. Italian Shoes Continuum
6. Infinity Girl
7. The Spiracles
8. Op Hop Detonation
9. Puncture In The Radax Permutation
10. Velvet Water
11. Blue Milk
12. Caleidoscopic Gaze
13. Strobo Acceleration
14. The Emergency Kisses
15. Come And Play In The Milky Night

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

On this bemusingly titled album, Stereolab toss around small chunks of music as catchy and irresistable as anything they've ever recorded. The warm Moog synth that leads off "Infinity Girl" or the horns that burst out of Laetitia Sadier's dry, layered voice in "The Free Design" will significantly boost your serotonin levels. The deconstructions these sonic scraps undergo and the analog keyboard textures around them are radically broad-minded, unveiling a separate and equally engaging architecture all their own. The ear follows one, then the other, first harmonically together, then suddenly cacophonous, all wrapped up in that familiar, '60s-a-go-go ambience. The scrupulous sensibilities of coproducers John McEntire and Jim O'Rourke are all over this record, incorporating the Chicago post-rock electronic sound and left-field musical influences at the heart of their work. Yet just when the song is sure to fall apart, Stereolab rediscovers the melody at the core. Take "Puncture in the Radax Permutation": a descending string melody mingles with a plunking xylophone-like pattern, the blend getting more and more abrasive. Suddenly the strings rise up with the drum track and a dreamy little tune reveals itself. It's not a record that's easy to get one's head around. Repeated listens, however, expose the diamonds in the rough, though the rough itself proves just as valuable. --Matthew Cooke

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Startling from start to finish!! June 2, 2001
Format:Audio CD
I cannot understand the negative reviews this masterpiece received from the press when it came out. I love this album from start to finish. The music itself sometimes defies explanation. When I try to tell someone what it sounds like, I usually say: sometimes electronic (but not quite), jazzy (sort of) or I give up and say just listen!
It bolts off to a frenzied start in "Fuses" with drums everywhere and the usual female harmonies that I love them for. Some songs take a while to figure out how the beats and melodies fit together, such as "Blue Milk" which clocks in at 11:29 (I happen to love long songs). I first couldn't stand its repetitive beats and chimes until I "heard" the shifting patterns, and layered sounds which seemed to shift places with each other several times, then finishes off conventionally, yet with the same beautiful repetitive pattern. "Caleidoscopic Gaze" almost reminds me of Yes with the sung harmonies during the "fast" part. It finishes with "Come and play in the milky night" a gliding, almost toe-tapping slow-burning finish.
Where "Dots and Loops" gave this sound electronically, "Cobra", it sounds to me, has just about all the sounds made "live". What I mean is, all instruments, including electronic, do not have that "programmed" feel to them like "Dots" sometimes did. It sounds like a live person created every note on a guitar string, drum head, or keyboard key.
It has every element of the best music that I love: complexity (in spades), melody, female vocals, intelligence, cool bass (I play bass), and just plain a sense of confidence that says "yea we're playing music that we want to make and not what the radio says to make".
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best CD of '99 ...and their best yet January 5, 2000
Format:Audio CD
I've got all their CD's and have been a fan for 6 years and I say this one is by far their best yet. The music is so well produced and thought out. Put this on the top of your shopping cart now! I'd also recommend "Emperor Tomato Ketchup", "Transient Random Noise Bursts..." and "Music for the amorphous body study center" as the best of the rest...and try to catch them live...the best live band I've seen.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars nato January 22, 2000
By "natho"
Format:Audio CD
This album pretty much follows the formula.... The fusion of jazz and electronics is there; as is the complex layering of sounds in (most) songs. Oh, and the trademark "ba-ba-ba-di-da-da-da" vocals from Laetitia. That the album wallows in the latter makes it a little disappointing. With the exception of "The Free Design" and "Blue Milk" in particular, this album is just a little too kitschy. So, it's questionable as to whether "Cobra & Phases" will attract new fans. However, it IS another Sterelolab release, and many (including myself) will buy it for this reason.
If you're unsure about which Stereolab album to get, then I'd recommend "Emperor Tomato Ketchup" and "Dots & Loops" before buying "Cobra and Phases". If you're just unsure...then try The High Llamas ("Snowbug"), Solex ("Pickup"), Alpha ("Come From Heaven"), or even The Now Sound of Ursula 1000 (self-titled, for something more beaty), too. Cheers! Ps: I gave it 3.5 stars...
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stereolab keep improving May 7, 2000
Format:Audio CD
Stereolab is probably my favorite band of the last few years. EMPEROR TOMATO KETCHUP is my favorite, and DOTS & LOOPS disappointed me somewhat because of its abstract electronica/jazz--a little too sterile, but it still impressed me with its musicianship. My initial reaction to COBRA is that it was a happy medium between the 2 previous albums. I immediately glommed onto Blips Drips and Strips and Infinity Girl as classic Stereolab moments. A month later, I discovered the last 2 cuts (it's a long CD, and I usually start at the beginning)--The Emergency Kisses is an amazing cut that's like 3 great songs in one, and Come and Play in the Milky Night is so good and melancholy and gorgeous--one of my all-time fave cuts, perfect to end the day with. I next went back and listened to all the old Sterelob CDs, and I was stunned by how much they've grown musically. I love the early stuff, but it sounds so technically and musically primitive by comparison. Be warned: this CD was underappreciated by the critics when it came out. It's truly excellent, one of the Groop's best!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Listen to Rolling Stone, This Album is Great! February 10, 2000
Format:Audio CD
I don't know why some critics are giving this album a bad review. In my opinion, the latest by sterolab is the most amazing, subtle, and beautiful. The last section of "Puncture in the Radar Permutation," when the violin and xylophone music suddenly switches from lo-fi to hi-fi recording gives me shivers every time I listen to it! If you ever wanted a definiton of "hip" music, stereolab and "Cobra and Phases..." is on the top of the list.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What you might expect January 11, 2000
Format:Audio CD
Stereolab has changed so dramatically over the years, and so gradually at the same time that every album seems to sound the same at first. But if you put on this album and compare it with "Peng" or "Transient Random Noise..." you'll quickly realize that it's a different beast altogether. Having all but completely done away with their rock sensibilities, "Cobra" lunges deep into kitschy lounge tunes, chimey vibes melodies, and the obligatory "bah bah bah bah" backing vocal thing. There are some welcome left turns such as the free-jazz influenced "Fuses," the coursing "Free Design," and the very long "Blue Milk" which is easily the album's crowning 11-minute masterpiece. Very rarely does the album otherwise stray from the formula, but those into Stereolab will inevitably love this. Whether or not it will attract any news fans is debatable.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great material. A lot of it.
I think this one is sometimes overlooked by people because it doesn't have the typical hooks that they drive into everybody's mind. This one takes some time. Read more
Published 22 months ago by crank
5.0 out of 5 stars Give it time
A multi-layered cacophony of beauty.Stereolab never fail to surprise and blow me away! This may take some of you a while to get into, but give it time. Read more
Published on August 23, 2012 by Faithless
2.0 out of 5 stars Cobra & Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night
As the 1990s drew to a close, so did Stereolab's ability to sound fresh, vital, and relevant. By this point in their career, the "groop" could play their particular brand of space... Read more
Published on June 26, 2009 by Mike Newmark
4.0 out of 5 stars Silly Title, Great Music
CD
Stereolab's full-length follow-up to "Dots and Loops" continues to update old sounds with new techniques and increasingly strong song writing. Read more
Published on November 24, 2007 by Mantis
5.0 out of 5 stars Ever evolving and revolving
Having been a Stereolab fan since the early 90s, I will admit this is a departure from the noisy droning sound of their early days. But it is a great record nonetheless. Read more
Published on November 13, 2007 by Billy Campbell
3.0 out of 5 stars Impressive compilation of relatively mediocre material
3 1/2

This might not be one of their most memorable albums, but in an undeniably impressive body of personalized work, this gladly holds up with the best of their... Read more
Published on March 15, 2007 by IRate
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Their Best But.....
Great none the less. More jazzy than most of their other stuff. It took me 4-5 listens to realize that Cobra & Phases not only didn't suck but is actually a great record.... Read more
Published on June 8, 2005 by Schmaddio
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, just might need some home-editing
I'm a fan who fell for "the groop" after hearing 'Dots & Loops,' and then I'd picked up a couple earlier releases, but the critical magazine reviews for this one (and... Read more
Published on February 26, 2004 by Michael St John
5.0 out of 5 stars Segun tu estimulante
Aunque, según mi criterio, ya estos acercamientos podían sentirse, en este disco stereolab acentúa aun más los sonidos, bases y acordes de jazz,... Read more
Published on December 11, 2003 by wichu
4.0 out of 5 stars not the best, but incredible never- the- less.
Stereolab probably is one of the best kept secrets that never quite reached a level of mass appeal and constant radio bombardment. Read more
Published on August 23, 2003
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