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Nicolay - Lights In The Sky EP - Out now!
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Nicolay - A New World EP

December 14, 2020 at 8:46 AM · Comments


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Nicolay Ends His 'Analog Dreams' Series With 'A New World' (via SoulBounce)

December 15, 2020 at 6:15 AM · Comments

Now that he's given us calm with Lights In The Sky and a reason to move with Never Stand Still, Nicolay is ready to bring it all home. He does that with the release of his final installment in his Analog Dreams EP series, A New World. With each of the previous entries setting a particular mood, A New World has the task of sonically unifying the trilogy. It's a daunting task with two works that sound so much different from one another. However, A New World rises to that occasion.

A New World plays up to the dreamy quality of the trilogy with airy, relaxing vibes that are interesting and inviting. The set doesn't just sit there lounging, though, as it mirrors the laid-back feel of Lights In The Sky and mixes in the urgency of Never Stand Still. The unlikely pairing of sounds results in rich soundscapes that allow your mind to wander in them. This starts from the album's opener, the set's title track, which pairs a bubbly synth bass with atmospheric synths that seems calm at first. Soon, though, the drums pick up and we're transported to a head-nodding groove that bleeds into the next track, "Dream Sequence."

Switching from soothing tranquility to something more suitable to dance to seems to be the theme, as it's evidenced throughout the EP. That, fittingly, comes to an abrupt stop on "Into The Unknown." That particular track features a heavy electronic bass that ricochets between the speakers while a clatter of hi-hats keeps a steady rhythm. Final track "The First Light" then wraps things up with a familiar feeling groove that envelops the listener like a warm hug as it brings us home from our musical journey.

A New World might be the longest of the three EPs, but it feels just as intentional and acts as the perfect close to a much-loved series.

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Nicolay - Never Stand Still EP

November 28, 2020 at 6:28 AM · Comments


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Nicolay Offers Calm In Trying Times On 'Lights In The Sky' (via SoulBounce)

November 17, 2020 at 8:52 AM · Comments

In a year that's featured its fair share of tragedies, a global pandemic, a contentious election and whatever else it wants to throw at us before 11:59 p.m. on December 31st, we could all use a break. Unfortunately, the aforementioned pandemic has most of us stuck in the crib in a strict quarantine. Music can be its own sort of getaway, though, especially when its from Nicolay. The producer and founding member of The Foreign Exchange has transported us to many places with his own solo work (especially his City Lights series). Now the music man is back with his short and sweet EP Lights In The Sky.

Nicolay, who we last heard from alongside The Hot At Nights on 2018's Glaciers, offers a brief snapshot into where he is musically over the EP's four songs. The electronic cool of "Starting Point" is the first thing to greet us when we press play, immediately enveloping us in atmospheric synth and digitized notes that seem to expand and contract as the song plays. That's followed by "Sooner Or Later," a collaboration with Creative Theory that melds the frenetic pace of drum and bass with jazz, crafting a brilliant soundscape for the vocalist to play around with while still keeping things surprisingly tranquil.

The set's second instrumental, "Thinking About You," splits the difference between the first two tracks. The icy calm returns with more ambient synth chords. They're joined by skittering programmed production with just enough hip-hop sprinkled in to keep your head nodding. That segues perfectly into the final track, "Lights In The Sky." Featuring his main man Phonte, "Lights In The Sky" has a hopeful feel as the singer/rapper beckons, "Don't close your eyes / See the lights in the sky." It's a fitting closer as it takes us to an optimistic place while we wait out the end of a pretty bitter year.

Short and sweet, Lights In The Sky is just enough to help us soothe our frazzled minds as we take inventory of a year like no other.

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Nicolay - Lights In The Sky EP

November 16, 2020 at 8:35 AM · Comments


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AllMusic reviews 'FourFront'

August 26, 2019 at 10:25 AM · Comments
Lorenzo Ferguson keeps to his triennial +FE Music release schedule with his fourth album for the label, issued after a documentary about the third one, other original music for film and television -- including pitch-perfect contributions to the satirical Sherman's Showcase -- and abundant collaborative work. From the title all the way down, FourFront has a composition like that of SunStorm, ManMade, and SkyBreak. Decked out with feel-good love and it-could-be-love songs tidily arranged over a sturdy post-disco/pre-new jack swing foundation, it similarly features a shifting cast of guest vocalists known and new to Zo! sessions. Among the familiar, most prominent is touring partner Carmen Rodgers on two highlights that sparkle. Also in the mix is Phonte, of course, either tightening the material in the background or duetting with one of the compatible new associates, Madison McFerrin, who elsewhere powers a delightfully featherlight if poignant bossa nova diversion. Ferguson continues to make incremental refinements and progressions, remarkably keeping it direct and replayable while adding detail and handling the bulk of the instrumentation on a level that verges on virtuosic. Whether written by the leader or the collaborators, the same can be said of the lyrics. Even the simplest romantic sentiments contain bright moments that stick out, like when Devin Morrison softly consoles that he'll "kick a silly freestyle, just to see you smile," or when Sy Smith bats her eyelashes with "I can see in your reflection that it's time to break the glass," signaling that she wants more than friendship. Strong finales have run throughout the Zo! discography, and there's another one here in "Step Up Front," a deep Afro-Latin house groove as high-spirited as anything by Masters at Work-related projects like Nuyorican Soul and Elements of Life. Moreover, it and the two preceding tracks add up to the finest three-track stretch on any Zo! LP. Ahead of the finish is "Crash," flirty machine soul fronted by Smith with discreet nods to Sly & the Family Stone, Shalamar, and Teena Marie. The succeeding penultimate number is the zigzagging slow jam "Sweat," which with Stokley's feverish hospitality can be heard as an answer song of acceptance.
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Zo! - FourFront

August 9, 2019 at 8:14 AM · Comments
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Zo! - Smile feat. Devin Morrison

July 19, 2019 at 9:07 AM · Comments
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Phonte - Pacific Time EP

March 29, 2019 at 12:04 AM · Comments

Continue reading Phonte - Pacific Time EP

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Nicolay/The Hot At Nights - Saturn (Warehouse live session)

November 1, 2018 at 7:30 AM · Comments
Nicolay/The Hot At Nights - Saturn (Warehouse live session)

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Nicolay/The Hot At Nights - Pioneer 11 (Warehouse live session)

August 11, 2018 at 8:05 AM · Comments
Nicolay/The Hot At Nights - Pioneer 11 (Warehouse live session)

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Nicolay/The Hot At Nights - Tell Me Something New (Warehouse live session)

July 18, 2018 at 6:07 PM · Comments
Nicolay/The Hot At Nights - Tell Me Something New (Warehouse live session)

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Nicolay/The Hot At Nights - Now The Coast Is Clear (Warehouse live session)

July 5, 2018 at 8:59 AM · Comments
Nicolay/The Hot At Nights - Now The Coast Is Clear (Warehouse live session)

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