LP Edition of 200.
Dagobah is the first LP (following a couple of cassettes & a CD) by Kool Music, the solo guitar project helmed by Glasgow-based polymath, Jasper Baydala. Jasper has previously had some exposure on the label, when his image appeared on the cover of Joanne Robertson’s Black Moon Days LP (FTR179). At that point we knew of Jasper as a video artist and writer, but Joanne assured us he was an excellent musician as well. And so began the road to Dagobah.
The soubriquet Kool Music has a bit of a hip-hop heft to it, but the 14 tracks here present a very different picture. Jasper has said that when he first hoisted the Kool Music flag, in Canada back in 2010, its sound was something of a cross between country music and Asian string traditions. Easy aural evidence of those roots has vanished over the past dozen years.
The music on Dagobah has certain tonal similarities to the UK free music tradition, but the pieces display a humanity and sense of humor that (rightly or wrongly) we don’t always associate with that scene. Each of the tracks is a solo electric guitar instrumental, usually taken at a slow pace with carefully built layers of sound that often overlap and decay before Kool Music moves on to the next trope. This gives the music a meditative quality, but the mildly casual dissonances make it tough for listeners to just float along on the sound. In that sense, Kool Music demands your attention. Although generally in the politest way imaginable.
Every time I spin Dagobah I hear a bunch of new details. And they’re really engaging. As is this whole damn album. And if you let yourself sink into its web, I do believe you will feel just the same.
Now that’s Kool Music.
-Byron Coley, 2022