The key word here is fusion. One of the more impressive sets at the Aug. 25 Square Fest was from the band Kota Mundi, which blended heavily percussive reggae beats with progressive, psych guitar and jazz-like precision. Although there are vocals, most of the songs that day were furious and funky instrumentals.
Kota Mundi was formed from the ashes of Mr. Wiley, a local group that wore its reggae influences on its collective sleeve. When the band splintered in 2009, guitarists Robbie Coggins and Bob Calevich recruited bassist Jason Cox and drummer Kris Taylor for their new project.
Taylor, from St. Simon's, is the only non-local in Kota Mundi.
"We kind of kept that reggae thing from Mr. Wiley," explains Coggins. "It was like a southern rock, reggae type of band - and all of a sudden me and Bob had to write stuff.
"I was listening to a lot of Umphrey's McGee. So our influences kind of came in there. Bobby listens to a lot of progressive rock himself - stuff like Tool. If you hear anything that sounds like metal, that usually comes from Bob. He brings the harder stuff to the table."
The band is in the middle of recording a debut album, and playing as many shows as the guys can squeeze in.
In the meantime, like all the best musicians, the Kota Mundites are soaking up influences, sponge-like, and bringing the best to the dining table. "We'll go to a show one week and see a band, and we'll want to be like that band for a month," says Coggins. "I saw Franz Ferdinand recently, and I was like ‘Man, I want to be like that.' Everything just kind of mixes together in a weird way."
Kota Mundi plays Live Wire Music Hall at 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7.
In metal news
Black Tusk and Dead Yet? will release a split 7" single on Savannah's Hyperrealist Records, and celebrate its release with a joint Jinx show, Sept. 22 ... Baroness guitarist John Dyer Baizley is still in Great Britain, recovering from the Aug. 15 crash of the band's tour bus near the town of Bath. Although his left arm and leg were broken, Baizley is expected to make a full recovery ... On Nov. 20, Kylesa will release From The Vaults, Vol. 1, a 12-song collection of unreleased, new and alternate versions of songs spanning the Savannah-based band's catalogue. "We didn't want to release something just thrown together, so we put a lot of thought and time into it," says guitarist Philip Cope. "I am really happy about how this came together. I think it is a good representation of Kylesa's different styles from early on to present day."
A dime for your thoughts?
Always a pleasure to welcome Chelsea LaBate back to Savannah, The Ashville-based singer and songwriter, a.k.a. Ten Cent Poetry, is one of the most original acoustic poetesses out there (she tours for half of every month, and leaves happy audiences everywhere she goes).
LaBate, who's also a fine visual artists, reports that she's been knee-deep in collaborations with an Ashville composer, writing orchestrations for some of her Ten Cent Poetry music. "I can write melodies, I can hear the string parts, but I don't know how a violin talks to a cello," she says. "Or how to put that down on paper. I really wanted to transcribe the work and have sheet music, so that wherever I tour, I can meet up with a violinist and a cellist, or even a whole orchestra."
Six of LaBate's songs have been completed for the project; it's not quite ready yet, and her show Thursday, Sept. 6 at the Sentient Bean (8 p.m.) will be a solo performance.
Coming Oct. 6 to Southern Pine Co.: No Control Mini-Fest, with Triathalon, Whaleboat, Heyrocco, Deep Search, Roland, Odist, Cement Stars and more to be announced. It's a fundraiser for the No Control venue, operated by our pals in Cusses. The local police are insisting they "get it up to code" so it can be re-opened for live music. More info soon.