Maya Jane Coles’ music definitely belongs to night-time. Born in London, the young DJ and producer is one of the most promising acts in the British deep-house scene. With ‘Nocturnal Sunshine’ she launches a new electronic project showing her will to explore some darker dubstep scenarios mixed up with a trip-hop song-writing approach. The result is this debut self-titled album which reflects interesting ideas in spite of a general sense of “opportunity loss”.
“Believe” is immediately welcoming the listener to a conflicting sound-environment, a musical texture where darkness and light are intertwined in a unique oxymoron. Vocals are performed by emerging artist Chelou, who enriches the song with a murmured evocative tone. Probably the best track on the album, the catchiest for sure.
Even if the rhythm turns jumpy and starts floating on obscure bass-frequencies, some songs never reach that peak of intensity they’re supposed to (“Take me there”, “Drive”); some others remain instead like suspended in a state of inconsistency that flows into pure boredom (“It’s Alright”).
“Down By the River” is a stand out track with Maya’s seductive voice leading us through a grimy bass-journey. Broadly the handling of bass-lines is remarkable and functional throughout the album: in one moment it is pounding and distorted stirring up the groove, in the next it transforms into a subtle constant trickle.
In “Can’t hide the way I feel” she manages to construct an alluring pattern of electronic arpeggios leaning upon a reverberated vocal sample. The atmosphere is dreamlike and ethereal, but the track lingers and the arrangement proves a lack of compelling ideas. The album concludes with the beautiful “Hotel”, a dark-tinted tune where Maya’s voice potentially resembles Karin Dreijer Andersson from The Knife.
“Nocturnal Sunshine” is overall a disappointing album. You’ll maybe perceive some distant echoes of Burial and Apparat; you might also enjoy some of its dark ambiances but it ultimately sounds inconclusive, missing the chance of fully fascinating the listener.
‘Nocturnal Sunshine’ is out now on I/AM/ME
The full track-listing for ‘Nocturnal Sunshine’ is as follows…