Originally intended as a tape of beats and other sounds that could be sold now and again to increase cash flow, Nobody's Soulmates quickly became fancied by hip-hop connoisseurs who were keeping an ear out in Los Angeles. The CD's 18 tracks were created by Nobody on a sampler, antiquated laptop, turntables, and with the help plenty of samples. Known as Elvin Estela to family and friends, Nobody makes adroit use of these tools and resources in his shaping of Soulmates. Such instrumental songs as "Leading to the One," which combines subsided basslines with offbeat rhythms, and the raining cymbal patterns and loopy guitar vamps of "Outbreak," make this release a pleasure to listen to. Nobody stacks samples in such a way that he retains the essential quality of the music's original context while generating hypnotic sonic tensions that coax one into introspecting on nothingness. Hip-hop ditties featuring guest appearances by a few of L.A.'s underground poets also add to the CD's success. Medusa from Organized Noize, 2 Mex of Visionaries, Aceyalone, and Freestyle Fellowship all rhyme in time with Nobody's constructions. A creative CD that resists the formulaic, Nobody's Soulmates subtly raises the musical bar for hip-hop and instrumental acts to follow.
by John Vallier