To be ‘gobby’ is to be loudmouthed and offensive. In the case of the Harlem-based producer of the same name, it’s certainly not in words that he accomplishes the desired effect of repulsing his audience, but through a wordless collision of house and techno, run through a combustion engine and thrust into an industrial blender of power noise. Preferring to let his production speak for itself, Gobby leaves the lyrics to UNO label-mate Mykki Blanco, for whom he contributed a couple of tracks on his Cosmic Angel mix tape, and the minimal delinquency of unruly textured beats pounding along his second album Fashion Lady, out April 16.
As pervasive as the Online is these days, Gobby has evidently found a way to evade its insidious reach into his private life. Through one-word interview answers and unrevealing press releases offering little beyond skeletal facts within cloudy metanarratives, Gobby has generated a mystique that challenges projects like Dean Blunt and Hype Williams to the mantle of most impertinently evasive underground music personas. In fact, legend has it that the man behind Gobby played an epic drum solo for the duo at last year’s Unsound Festival New York and there’s certainly that instinctual sense of rhythm to the crunching, twisting and tearing combat of a dysfunctional hardware metronome in his electronic work.
Gobby’s regard for rhythm is so instinctual, in fact, that he doesn’t always keep it, as tracks like ‘Healing Factor’ stagger through a tech dump of clicks and hisses, if only to make it to the other side, while ‘Rashe’ appears to buckle under the pressure of consistency. In fact, it’s the unshakeable dread and nihilism that these randomised structures, with little variation across songs, inspire, as the focus on those almost tangible elements of its fractured and frayed beats evokes a sense of imminent collapse.
This dystopian nightmare, an impending social breakdown, is no more apparent than in Gobby’s YouTube feed, where a creepy voyeurism and fragmentation of self-mediation is reflected in the low-quality, home made video of last year’s ‘Seagate’, directed by musician, artist and frequent UNO collaborator Jamie Krasner. Its Peeping Tom gaze spying on the rocking chair across buildings is now transferred to her follow-up for ‘Krylon Surf Magix’, where a queasy, looping melody is complemented by visuals of an unwitting dozer being filmed in his sleep, transposed with Krasner’s signature graphic splinters.
By this stage there should be no doubt as to the irreverent, transgressive nature of Gobby’s oeuvre, casting a cynical eye across the dystopian infrastructure and alienation of modern urbanity. There’s the reference to Krylon spray paint, as both inhalant and symbol of vandalism, and, of course, its authoritative foil, ‘Cops’. Meanwhile any misconception of actual mobilising anger is offset by the conceptual shrug of bonus track ‘Spilla Drink’, where the only word uttered through the whole album as an apathetic “bummer”. **
Gobby’s Fashion Lady is out on UNO on Tuesday, April 16, 2013.