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Nicolay - City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya
Artist
Title
City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya
Release date
September 15, 2009

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Nicolay - City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya

by +FE on July 20, 2009 at 9:25 PM · Comments
The second volume of Nicolay's City Lights series is a travelogue that, through the eyes of an amazed and slightly dazed visitor, reflects the character of Tokyo's Shibuya ward -- getting lost in its nightlife, basking in its spirituality, and several points in-between. In the wake of the producer's work on the Foreign Exchange's Leave It All Behind, a lack of progression would have been excusable, but Nicolay manages (remarkably enough) to expand his range both stylistically and conceptually. Mostly instrumental, Nicolay plays everything with the exception of a couple piano solos (provided by Zo!), while FE partner Phonte wrote and arranged for the four songs with vocals, all of which feature Carlitta Durand's whispery, sweetly uplifting voice. Faultlessly sequenced, just about every track is a set-up for what follows, and though the whole set is bathed in a unifying luster, the shifts in sound are not insignificant. Ranging beyond Nicolay's past output, Shibuya delves deeper into the boundless energy and complexities of late-'70s jazz fusion, steps into lush deep house, and otherwise moves smoothly on mellow downtempo pieces that are too stimulating to be regarded as mere mood music. What puts it over the top is not necessarily its central track or overall highlight but its two biggest surprises: the crisp, sleek, and discreetly dubby "Saturday Night," a four/four-rooted club track that could be a soundclash with the Force Tracks label circa Hypercity, and the beaming and almost frantic "Wake Up in Another Life," a dead ringer for an imagined West London broken beat interpretation of late-'70s George Duke (like "Yeah, We Going" or "Up from the Sea It Arose"). Nicolay's sense of wonderment shines through all of this, another unassuming gem from one of the most creative and increasingly chameleonic producers around. (AllMusic review by Andy Kellman)

Tracklisting
01. Lose Your Way feat. Carlitta Durand
02. Shibuya Station
03. Crossing
04. Rain In Ueno Park
05. Satellite
06. Saturday Night feat. Carlitta Durand
07. A Ride Under The Neon
08. Omotesando
09. Meiji Shrine
10. Shadow Dancing
11. The Inner Garden
12. Bullet Train
13. Wake Up In Another Life feat. Carlitta Durand
14. Departure
15. Shibuya Epilogue feat. Carlitta Durand
16. Lose Your Way [Instrumental] *CD only
17. Saturday Night [Instrumental] *CD only
18. Wake Up In Another Life [Instrumental] *CD only
Reviews
''Relaxed, contemplative, and cucumber cool in its approach to nouveau -80s electronica, Nicolay's Shibuya demonstrates why the Great Dutch is in demand as an indie soul and hip hop producer.'' - L. Michael Gipson for Soul Tracks [Click here to read the full review]
''Another unassuming gem from one of the most creative and increasingly chameleonic producers around.'' - Andy Kellman for allmusic [Click here to read the full review]
''Nicolay's Shibuya: City Lights Vol. 2 exudes the kind of effervescent joy one experiences when visiting an exotic new land for the first time.'' - Ron Schepper for Textura [Click here to read the full review]
''Nicolay captures the excitement of this faraway land like a child chasing a butterfly as it floats away on a gentle breeze. (...) No matter where you are, the intricate layers of Shibuya transport you to another place.'' - Candace L. for Okayplayer [Click here to read the full review]
''Nicolay's new found vision is a refreshing journey of live instrumentation and programmed drum beats.'' - Landon A. for URB Magazine [Click here to read the full review]
''I encourage you to listen to City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya and allow Nicolay to transport you into another level of collective creativity.'' - Fave for SoulBounce [Click here to read the full review]
''The 15-track LP showcases a highly finessed producer who continues to grow.'' - Eric Tullis for Independent Weekly [Click here to read the full review]
''A well conceptualized project for mature ears that is indicative of Phonte's song-writing prowess as well as Nicolay's dexterity on the boards.'' - Eldorado Red for Redlightdistrikt [Click here to read the full review]
''We hear a new and even more musical side of Nicolay. Or maybe he's just letting us get to know him better with each subsequent release. Either way, we recommend buying City Lights Volume 2 right away, and visiting Nicolay's Shibuya as soon as you can.'' - Zane for Leisure Lab [Click here to read the full review]
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