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Elvin Estela, better known by the moniker Nobody, is a Los Angeles-based producer whose music blurs the lines between abstract hip-hop, psychedelia, and downtempo electronic music, with jazz and R&B also figuring into his sound. A crucial figure of the Los Angeles beat scene, Estela is a longtime host of the online radio station Dublab, and was a resident DJ at the legendary, now-defunct Low End Theory weekly club night. Estela's debut album, 2000's Soulmates, featured guest verses by Freestyle Fellowship and Abstract Rude, and established the producer's name in the underground hip-hop scene. Subsequent albums such as 2005's And Everything Else... featured an increased presence of sung vocals, including guests such as Mia Doi Todd and Jimmy Tamborello (Dntel, the Postal Service), and a sunnier, more psychedelic outlook. 2010's One for All Without Hesitation was an unexpected shift into downcast R&B, marked by Estela's own heavily Auto-Tuned singing. Eventually moving back to instrumental music, 2019's guitar-heavy All Too Familiar was Estela's first album to be created without the use of samples.
Estela began self-releasing beat tapes during the mid-'90s, including Puzzles (1996). Along with 2Mex and DJ ESP, he formed the group SonGodSuns, releasing the EP Love Fights Back in 1999. Nobody's first vinyl EP, Earthtones, contained moody instrumentals as well as rap tracks featuring Aceyalone and Freestyle Fellowship, and was released by Ubiquity in 1999. The label then released Nobody's debut album, Soulmates, the following year. Estela used the pseudonym Nowhereman for a few compilation tracks, including "Seathrough Dolphin Smile," which appeared on 2001's Dublab Presents: Freeways, the first collection put together by the L.A.-based online radio station. Following a few 12" EPs, Nobody's second full-length, Pacific Drift: Western Water Music, Vol. 1, appeared in 2003. More psychedelic-influenced than its predecessor, the album included a cover of the Monkees' "Porpoise Song" (subsequently released as a single), as well as guest vocals by Languis and Jimmy Tamborello. And Everything Else... followed on Plug Research in 2005; the album included a cover of the Flaming Lips' "What Is the Light?," in collaboration with Mystic Chords of Memory. This preceded Tree Colored See..., Nobody's full-length with Mystic Chords, which appeared in 2006 on Mush Records. The same year, Plug Research released Revisions Revisions: The Remixes 2000-2005, which collected Estela's mixes of tracks by a diverse array of artists including Busdriver, the Free Design, and Phil Ranelin. Estela and Niki Randa formed the downtempo duo Blank Blue, and their full-length debut, Western Water Music Volume II, was released by Ubiquity in 2007. Dive EP followed in 2008.
By the end of the 2000s, Estela had become a resident DJ at Low End Theory, the storied L.A. weekly which helped launch the careers of Flying Lotus, Nosaj Thing, the Glitch Mob, and countless others. Estela became a regular contributor to the Low End Theory podcast series in 2009. In 2010, he released the Auto-Tune-heavy solo album One for All Without Hesitation, inspired by the heartbreak resulting from the end of his marriage. He returned three years later with Vivid Green, a trap-influenced full-length that featured guests such as Baths and members of the Mars Volta. The album appeared on Alpha Pup, which also issued 2015's Prodigal Son, a short release which included a collaboration with Open Mike Eagle. Also in 2015, Estela released Hood Rich Life, the first vinyl EP by his juke-influenced Druguse alter ego, as well as Fallin' Angels, a mixtape by the resurrected SonGodSuns (at this point just the duo of Estela and 2Mex). In 2019, Nobody returned to Ubiquity with All Too Familiar, a sample-free album influenced by indie and post-rock. ~ Paul Simpson
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