Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night album cover
Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night


Duophonic Ultra High Frequency Disks

Cobra and Phases is flush with ideas, almost too many of ‘em, in fact – it’s a long album that seems intent on covering as much ground as possible for Stereolab. If previous albums had them honing a particular set of coordinates as their main ‘idea’ – Neu/VU strum, say, or bossa-jazz-electronica – Cobra and Phases opens everything up for the group, taking in scurrilous free jazz (“Fuses”), chiming drone-rock (“Strobo Acceleration”), surrealist space chanson (“Italian Shoes Continuum”), tack-piano sunshine pop (“The Spiracles”)… you name it, it’s there. “Blue Milk” is where it all comes together, a side-long one-note mini-symphony that regularly dismantles its own parts and then plugs them all into the patch bay of all creation. The whole thing felt pretty anomalous in its time, but with the benefit of hindsight, its ambitious tenor and creative profligacy rings true.

Jon Dale

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