British duo Kinobe became the quintessential downtempo group with the 2000 release of their Engelbert Humperdinck-sampling single "Slip Into Something More Comfortable," which became a wine-bar staple and was licensed for innumerable compilations, soundtracks, and TV commercials. Despite lineup changes, the group endured, releasing several albums in a similar vein over the next two decades.
Kinobe was formed in west London in 1998 by childhood friends Julius Waters and Mark "Blackie" Blackburn. They formed a duo together after Waters' return from Perth, Australia, where he had spent the greater part of his teens. Both multi-instrumentalists with a plethora of retro influences including soul, funk, blues, jazz, and R&B, they quickly began making music together. With a minimal setup of synth, computer, and sampler, within a few months they had recorded enough material for an album and proceeded to shop it around record labels, who were looking to sign the next big name in chilled-out electronic music following the success of acts like Moby, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Fila Brazillia, and Thievery Corporation. Snapped up by Jive, they released their debut album, Soundphiles, in 2000, its sales buoyed by the enormous success of the ubiquitous single "Slip Into Something More Comfortable," which sampled '60s crooner Engelbert Humperdinck's "From Here to Eternity." Subsequent albums Versebridgechorus? (2001) and Wide Open (2004) saw the duo incorporating more live instrumentation and guest vocalists, while sticking with their core musical template: smooth, soulful, yet danceable tracks with huge singalong hooks, liberally loaded with retro-R&B samples. Following the release of Wide Open, Blackburn left the band and was replaced by Dave Pemberton, who appeared on only one Kinobe album, 2009's self-released, digital-only Choose Your Own Adventure. Following a lengthy hiatus, the group returned in 2017 with a pair of EPs, Firebird and Thought It Was You, with Chuck Norman replacing Pemberton. The group's fifth album, The Golden Age, arrived in 2018 on New State. ~ John D. Buchanan