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Nicolay - Lights In The Sky EP - Out now!
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Nicolay - Never Stand Still EP

November 28, 2020 at 6:28 AM · Comments


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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

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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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Phonte - So Help Me God (Official Video)

July 2, 2018 at 8:38 AM · Comments
Phonte - So Help Me God (Official Video)

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SoulTracks reviews 'Glaciers'

June 21, 2018 at 4:32 PM · Comments
The music man behind much of the signature tones that have come to define The Foreign Exchange (+FE) sound continues his alchemist trick of making instrumental electronic music feel organic for laypeople who swear they don't care for electronic music. Following a tradition initially established in jazz by artists like Miles Davis and in soul by Stevie Wonder's experimentations in Songs in the Key of Life (peaking in the woefully underrated In A Square Circle), manipulating electronic music to distill the innate robotic coldness of its confines to cultivate something emotional and resonating is a hard row. Most lean into the coldness, creating music that stretches from the industrial and dystopian to the nihilistic and metallic.
Dutch-born, Raleigh-based composer-producer Nicolay has consistently found ways to resist this ease by playing opposites with songs seeking to tell a story without words in ways that still feel human with a capacity to touch. There is an irony in Nicolay calling his fifth solo/duo album outside of the +FE moniker Glaciers, as there is little chilly about this release. Compounding the irony is the name of his collaborators on this epic project, The Hot at Nights (North Carolina-based guitarist Chris Boerner, Matt Douglas on woodwinds, and drummer Nick Baglio). Mixing the fiery trio with his warm electronic sounds on an album suggesting frigid temperatures, Nicolay brings a tongue-in-cheek humor to a project rich with the serious and the bold.

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