I am a relative late comer to the cosmic sounds of Korb. I received their self-titled debut album as a gift and was blown away by the vivid journey that the music took me on. I then discovered their seminal second album, Korb II. Again, the space rock sounds took me away and had me hooked. Now they return with their third album called, wait for it, Korb III. I’m once again booking my ticket on the good ship Korb, ready to blast off into space to discover new worlds and galaxies.
Who are the captains of this space ship you may ask? The duo of Alec Wood and Jonathan Parkes are Korb and will be our pilots for the next forty minutes or so.
Before we launch off into the stars, I asked the lads how they work together to create the sounds we hear on the albums.
“The music comes first, then we see what kind of imagery it conjures up for us, which leads to the track titles. We’ve been making music together for over 20 years so the interaction between us is fluid and each track grows organically. There isn’t really much difference between how we approach each Korb album, we just go where it takes us.”
They sound like my kinda tour guides. So, with seatbelts fastened and tray tables in the upright position it’s time for take-off.
The album opens on the exploratory piece, ‘Remote Viewer’. There’s a peaceful serenity to this track whilst at the same time being ominous and foreboding. A short but great start to the journey.
As is traditional, we next meet this albums android. ‘Korb’s Third Android’ is a restrained affair. The modulated synth flutters while the guitar jams and the rhythm section hold it down like clockwork. Like the internal workings of the android itself.
We soar on through the galaxy and encounter ‘Hunter’. We’re picking up pace now with real retro Arkanoid vibe. The drums hold down a driving groove for the pulsing synth and bass to play over. The mega fuzzed out guitar adds splashes of colour and texture lifting the track, sending us soaring.
Following this is my album highlight. ‘Lords of Nazca’ is one of the coolest instrumentals I’ve ever heard. It has this confident swagger about it, coming from that groove. That awesome groove. This part of the journey feels like flying through hyperspace, multicoloured streams of light peeling past as we travel on towards galaxies new.
We emerge bleary eyed above the ‘Temples of Mars’. Droning synths trade blows with rolling electronic waveforms. It’s almost like we are moving slowly over the surface of the red planet scanning for life.
Now in the temple its time to offer our ‘Ritual for the Gods’. Our intergalactic overlords demand their offering and luckily the Korb boys have us covered. The slow and pulsing sounds mirror our slow advance to the altar. Building in complexity, one layer at a time until reaching the feet of the Gods themselves. Check out the cool video for this one below.
We are on the move again with the duelling guitars of ‘Infrared’. In my head this is the sound of the giant Gods chasing us from the temple across the plains of Mars. Proper solid riffs on show here aping the huge footsteps of our pursuers.
All is not lost, to our aid come the ‘Robots of the Ancient World’. There’s an air of triumph to the synths and particularly the drums on this piece. The distance between us and the danger becomes too great to comprehend. We are flying.
When all of a sudden comes ‘A Rare Bird’, swooping on the solar winds. This track is so poised and deliberate it takes you away, chasing that bird through the heavens. When I close my eyes, I see the fiery phoenix from Battle of the Planets flying into the never-ending night.
Until the ‘Cosmic Dawn’. Where peace embraces us at the end of our journey across the cosmos. Our brave pilots say their goodbyes and take the good ship Korb off on another adventure to star systems new.
There’s something magical about a Korb album. It fires my imagination and sends me places beyond my comprehension. For me that’s down to how these guys play the music. One minute your hearing sounds that remind you of a 50’s sci-fi B-movie, then synths harking back to the BBC Radiophonic Workshop creations from the late 70’s. All the while though you feel like you are listening to some far-off future where Ulysses is still searching for Earth or Esteban is still searching for those seven cities of gold.
If you seek a truly immersive listening experience then all you need do is pop Korb III on the turntable, close your eyes and let Messrs Woods and Parke take you off on journey you’ll never forget.
Korb III is available now from Bandcamp digitally and on a very limited vinyl run.
You can follow Korb on social media here….