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Normally at this point it’s customary to dial up an artist’s CV and personal attributes, regurgitate them and then dive headlong into the music. But follow that rule with Maya Jane Coles and we may not have room to talk about what her debut album, ‘Comfort’, sounds like. Never mind the rabid following she’s cultivated for her DJing and a burgeoning production career, MJC takes the concept of multi-tasking to new levels on ‘Comfort’. The Londoner has written, played on, produced, mixed, engineered and sung on a record which, naturally, is released on her own label – she probably does the accounts and legal contracts too.
While rooted in clubland, ‘Comfort’ is pop – by which we mean slick, accessible but also stylish. Deep house is its principle ingredient, to which Coles adds pinches of dubstep, leftfield and techier tropes. And while it takes its time to reveal its charms, that’s a sign of the nuances buried deep in its 12 tracks. ‘Blame’ – featuring the fragile, mournful tones of singer/songwriter Nadine Shah – resonates to low-slung, echo-drenched guitars, bumped along by a snarling bass rumble, but listen carefully and there are fragile sub-melodies twinkling away in the background. Shah is one of a clutch of guest vocalists on the album – which include two of MJC’s heroes in Miss Kittin and Tricky – but two of the standout tracks feature Cole herself on vocals.
‘Easier To Hide’ proved she had the chops to stand in front of a mic, and ‘Dreamer’ confirms it, Maya’s voice floating alluringly across a backdrop of gossamer-light percussion, itchy synths and subtle bass prods. But the most exciting thing about ‘Comfort’ is the sense that this is an artist who has only scratched the surface of her talent. If Maya Jane Coles isn’t already dance music’s next superstar, then that time is approaching at warp speed.
File under Deep house given brilliant pop sheen by rare talent
Download ‘Easier To Hide’, ‘Dreamer’, ‘Blame’
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