Phonte has no trouble reconciling his duties as a member of the fiercely loved Little Brother and the fan-favorite duo The Foreign Exchange, who are currently touring in support of their latest project, the critically lauded and publicly loved Leave It All Behind a melodic tour-de-force offering that can best be described as Post-When Everyone Shut The Fuck Up and Stopped Trying To Categorize Dope Shit.
Continue reading 12ftDwende interviews Phonte
Harmonious vocals from Nicolay's newest prodigy Carlitta Durand, compliment a few of the tracks and give the album a beautiful melodic balance. Even though most fans may be familiar with his soul and hip hop productions (The Foreign Exchange, Dutch Masters, Little Brother, etc.), Nicolay is not afraid to step outside the box and explore new possibilities of sound. City Lights Volume 2 - Shibuya is just that distinct, refreshing and exceptional.
In a series of blogs titled 'Postcards From Shibuya', Nicolay explains what the inspiration was for his new album and how its songs came together."Rain In Ueno Park" and "Satellite" are the third and fourth movements of the first 'Shibuya' suite and, similarly to "Shibuya Station" and "Crossing", they are closely related to each other.
Ueno Park, technically not situated in the district of Shibuya, is one of Tokyo's largest and most popular parks, built on the hallowed grounds of a long-gone temple. A steady rain came down for the entire time that we spent visiting the park and its neighbouring areas, under the expert guidance of our friend GG. Even though we were quickly soaked through and through, Ueno did leave a lasting impression, as you can hear in "Rain In Ueno Park".
Continue reading Postcards From Shibuya #4: Rain In Ueno Park/Satellite
It began with Connected, their 2004 inaugural offering of Hip Hop lyricism and vibrant beats mixed with soulful crooning. In 2008, the critically-acclaimed Leave it All Behind increased their momentum and crystallized their style into the world of the grown and sexy. With enhancements from Darien Brockington, Muhsinah, Yahzarah, Zo! and the Els, Nic and Tay leaped from the laptop to the stage before appreciative audiences around the world.
Continue reading SoulBounce: "Nicolay shines on City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya"
Recent history suggests that any Coleman project comes with at least one of three gifted female vocalists--Yahzarah, Muhsinah or his newest singer-fling, Carlitta Durand. Which vocalist comes along shouldn't be much of a worry for two reasons. First, Coleman--a gifted, gabbing rapper and sentimental soul man--provides mandarin lines aplenty: "Even when the nights are quiet and the moon is rising/ Every face has some glory to sell," Durand sings on the lead single, "Lose Yourself." What's more, Nicolay is often at his strongest without any vocal company. He relies on gradual builds to drag listeners in, pushing their guards down, charging through slow storms of emotion. "The Inner Garden" may not be Vangelis' "Chariots of Fire," but if you follow its pulse close enough, it leads to its own ecstatic nirvana with beautiful chord repetition that whisks the close listener to a plush spiritual escape. "Saturday Night" salutes the house music gods as it works to become the life of the party, while "Meiji Shrine" hides its reference to another deity--the late hip-hop idol Dilla--beneath its ethnic title. And despite only one vocal appearance by Phonte Coleman, the other half of The Foreign Exchange, you're hard-pressed not to hear Shibuya as an extension of Leave it all Behind's often melancholy approach. That is, it doesn't fight back with attitude.
Continue reading Independent Weekly reviews City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya
City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya enters Billboard's Current Electronic Albums at #27 and Top New Artist Albums at #110
Nicolay's new album debuts with a bangAfter racing up Amazon's MP3 Album charts last week,'City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya' has now officially entered not one but two Billboard charts: the Current Electronic Album chart at #27 and the Top New Artist Albums chart at #110! This is quite a debut for an independent project that is brought to you by the artists themselves. Not to mention the lack of cooperation from iTunes. We appreciate your vote of confidence and would once again like to thank you very much for your support. If you haven't yet picked up your copy of 'Shibuya', why not do so today?
The track, "Lose Your Way" gives me the feeling of that when looking out the city at night it gives me that utopia feeling.
Continue reading My Love For Music: "My Thoughts On Nicolay's City Lights Vol. 2"
In fact, perhaps the most appealing feature of this record is its clear display of artistic growth. Many of the experimental sounds on here should come as no surprised to seasoned fans of Nicolay's work. Leave It All Behind, his last effort as part of the Foreign Exchange with Phonte, featured plenty of subtle nuances showing off just where Nic was headed. It was not thrust into your eardrums like on here, though, so it's possible those intricacies were missed by some listeners. Although, one could argue that the dubstep-esque "If This Is Love" was a fine foreshadowing of Nic's left-field tendencies. But other than that, they were more interwoven into his production.
Continue reading Potholes In My Blog reviews City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya
in: PAST SHOWS
Sunday, October 25, 2009 at 8:00 PMBlack Cat, 1811 14th Street NW Washington DC 20009 | (202) 667-4490
Jodine's Corner is back with a funk-filled podcast featuring the dynamic duo, Phonte and Nicolay aka The Foreign Exchange
Source: Jodine's Corner
Continue reading The Foreign Exchange on Jodine's Corner Podcast
So it was with The Foreign Exchange Monday night at The Roxy. From MC/singer Phonte's jaunty bowtie and feather-adorned fedora to Dutch producer Nicolay's cool-breeze beats, the pair set a tone that this Southern girl immediately recognized as "home." The show moved from languid summer picnic to lively juke joint in transitions as smooth as Phonte's silky croon.
Continue reading International Relations Never Sounded So Good (via Neon Tommy)
Opening was local hip-hop group the Physics; performing for the first time with a live band, the live instrumentation brought out the melodic personality and thoughtful, intricate composition exhibited by their latest project, the High Society EP. With producer Justo behind the turntables and sometimes popping out to rap along, MC Thig Natural capably led a collective of two backup vocalists and a very talented trio of musicians, resulting in perhaps the Physics' strongest performance to date. The major disappointment was the absence of Monk Wordsmith, the Physics' second MC who was unable to perform due to an out-of-town work conflict. While Thig valiantly rapped his brother's lines and sustained the energy of the band, Monk's laid-back confidence would only have enriched and enlivened their performance, missed most on songs like "Callin' Out" and "Back Track." The crowd was won over by the playful ditties of "I Just Wanna Beat" and "I Heart Beer," and had a great response to the closing and ridiculously catchy "Ready For We" off their debut FutureTalk. I overheard one audience member, who was hearing the group for the first time, excitedly refer to the Physics as "Outkasty." With a live band, the Physics distinguish themselves even more as a group with consistent and quality musicality as well as lyricism, a standard to which other local hip-hop groups should aspire.
In a series of blogs titled 'Postcards From Shibuya', Nicolay explains what the inspiration was for his new album and how its songs came together.'City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya' is built around two 'suites', or sets, of four and six instrumental songs respectively. The two suites are book-ended by several vocal songs that feature Carlitta Durand. "Lose Your Way", the album's introduction, segues into the first suite, consisting of "Shibuya Station", "Crossing", "Rain In Ueno Park" and "Satellite".
The demo version of "Shibuya Station" was among those first ideas that I recorded almost immediately after returning from my trip to Tokyo. The uptempo drums and percussion represent the frantic pace of the city's traffic, with a nod to 8-Bit Nintendo music in the intro. With over two million people passing through each workday (!), "Shibuya Station" is one of the world's busiest railway stations, and it seemed like the most appropriate starting point for a walk around Shibuya. A big shout out to my brother Zo! for laying down a smoldering solo on the Rhodes.
Continue reading Postcards From Shibuya #3: Shibuya Station/Crossing
Let's take a walk through the city tonight...The wait is over! Last week, we already released the digital version of 'City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya', and today marks the release of the CD version of the album. You can purchase your copy through online music retailers such as Amazon and this website, as well as in (select) stores across the United States. Check back for a complete list of stores that carry the album, coming soon. Later this month, 'Shibuya' will be released in Europe, Japan and the rest of the world.
On behalf of the entire Foreign Exchange Music crew, we thank you very much for your continued support!
You can still download the first single taken from 'City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya', ''Lose Your Way feat. Carlitta Durand", as well as the album sampler, free of charge through this website.
What really made the show pop was the addition of the soulful voices of sultry soul singer with the powerful vox out this world, Yahzahrah; power tenor & underrated singer & often-featured FE vocalist Darien Brockington; and the lovely, big voiced yet sweet toned Carlitta Durand. These three + Phonte' holding the vocals down gave the show LIFE. Made it more than a hip-hop show actually -- it became a musical journey ranging from hip-hop freestyles, church chat, chords and interludes, to outright jams from Nicolay and the heat that was the band.
Some good music for your player...
Source: Friday FaveCastPhonte and Nicolay aka The Foreign Exchange join Fave as special guests for the newest edition of his Friday FaveCast. They discuss Nicolay's new album, 'City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya', the formation of their Foreign Exchange Music imprint, and much more.
Click here to download the MP3 or here to listen via the Friday FaveCast site. Playlist after the jump.
In a series of blogs titled 'Postcards From Shibuya', Nicolay explains what the inspiration was for his new album and how its songs came together.I recorded an instrumental demo, titled "Universe", towards the end of the sessions for 'Leave It All Behind', as I was getting ready to put together the 'Shibuya' album. Much like most ideas that I put down, I sent it to Phonte for some feedback. Over the years, this practice has become somewhat of a litmus test for me. Fortunately, he took to the track. I personally hadn't necessarily considered "Universe" for inclusion on 'Shibuya', but a few months later, when Phonte sent me the song he wrote to it, titled "Lose Your Way", everything literally fell into place. We had been brainstorming on conceptual ideas for the album, and the song brought all of the different elements together, inviting the listener to take a trip to the city, with the voice of Carlitta Durand as a guide.
Continue reading Postcards From Shibuya #2: Lose Your Way
The message appeared on the Southern rapper's Twitter page a day after our interview, when I asked him, "All your projects seem to have a smooth, soulful, almost smooth jazz kind of sound. What is it about that sound that appeals to you?"
While I don't know if my question prompted Phonte's subsequent post, it's clear that Leave It All Behind (Foreign Exchange Music), his 2008 album with Nicolay as the Foreign Exchange, charts new depths of mellowness. In person, Phonte is a hilarious, extremely un-PC wisecracker, as subscribers to his Twitter account (and, back in the Stone Age, his MySpace page) will confirm. However, Phonte's turn as sincere loverman simply explores a side of his personality already revealed in his work as one-third of Little Brother, the hip-hop group for which he remains best known.
Continue reading San Francisco Bay Guardian Online interviews The Foreign Exchange
Shibuya takes its inspiration from the Tokyo neighborhood that Nicolay visited in 2006. Nic says, "When I came back to the States, I immediately locked myself up in the studio and came out with several new tracks that all felt different, but fresh. At that point, it really hit me. If I wanted to begin unlocking my true potential, I had to open myself up completely to whatever ideas would present themselves to me."
Continue reading Leisure Lab reviews City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya
"I had a very lucky opportunity to visit Japan, specifically an area in Tokyo called Shibuya, which, it's kind of like Manhattan in New York - it's the busiest, trendiest neighborhood in Tokyo and it's like always moving...I was there for about 5 days - I was there for a show - but we just really tried to take everything in and see as much as we could in those 5 days." His biggest takeaway was the reminder to remain true to himself as a musician. "That whole trip really just opened my eyes in a lot of ways to just be more open-minded...I kind of really started thinking that, you know, for myself, I sometimes had been too preoccupied with what the listener would sometimes think of what I do that I sometimes forget about, you know, just letting whatever kind of idea through me, just letting whatever kind of music comes - just letting that out instead of trying to censor yourself, or thinking like "well a fan of The Foreign exchange will most likely listen to this, and this and that." So really if anything it just really inspired me, or kind of really helped me to open up my mind a little bit more about, you know, other options, other possibilities, other forms of music. It was really good that that sort of came out."
Continue reading The Anti-Pop Blog interviews Nicolay
Digital version of City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya released!The digital version of 'City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya' was released yesterday, exactly one week before the CD version drops on September 15. After an unusual but compelling request from Phonte and Nicolay not to purchase the digital album through iTunes (see: 'City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya' and why NOT to buy it from iTunes', fans collectively took to Amazon.com, pushing 'Shibuya' into the site's MP3 Album Top 100 chart almost immediately. And it didn't stop there. At the time of writing, 'Shibuya' is the #1 album in Dance, and the #16 album overall! Not a small feat for an album released independently by the artists themselves, without any marketing budgets or other financial backing.
A heartfelt thank you to all of our supporters, past, present, and future. You are much appreciated!
Straight from the source...Friends and Family,
Nic and I are proud to announce the digital release of 'City Lights 2: Shibuya', available right NOW.
The good news is that the full 'Shibuya' album is available for download on Amazon, eMusic, Rhapsody and other digital music retailers.
The bad news is that iTunes has decided to list 'Shibuya', as well as 'Leave It All Behind' (?!?!??!?!!) as "partial." Essentially, what this means is that you (the consumer) will be charged more money for buying the full album from iTunes, and that me and Nic won't receive credit for the album sales on SoundScan.
We are asking all of you who plan to purchase the full digital album to please do so via Amazon or any other music retailer, and not via iTunes. Not only will you get it for a cheaper price, but me and Nic will also get credit for the sale. In the very near future, Nic and I will be launching our own digital store via www.theforeignexchangemusic.com to ensure that we're not beholden to any more corporate bullshit that keeps our fans from getting great music at a fair price. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.
For those of you who still buy your music the old-fashioned way, 'Shibuya' will be in stores nationwide on Sept. 15, and we will have CD's for sale during our upcoming west coast shows.
Thank you for listening, and we hope you enjoy the record!
'Te and Nic
Five short years later, Nicolay stands out as one of the most innovative and inspiring producers in hip hop. The Dutch producer expertly harnesses the "organic and emotive qualities of classic soul" with each release. His third solo album, the highly anticipated City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya, will be released later this month
Continue reading 12ftDwende interviews Nicolay
They play Yoshi's San Francisco with a full band at midnight on Saturday, Sept. 12. Wait, what? Yeah - midnight, y'all - for a special "Beyond Jazz Music Series." You can get tickets for $25 at the Yoshi's website.
Why the eff do you care?
One: you're nosey. The guys sat down with me for about half an hour to answer some of my favorite questions. Phonte talks about how he wishes he was Theo from "The Cosby Show," why he is the boss of himself, and spying on his kids. Nicolay shares college dropout fantasies, stories of his mama's records, and more. More on that in un momento.
Two: story time!
Continue reading NBC Bay Area: "Yoshi's Foreign Exchange Goes Live at Midnight"
In a new series of blogs titled 'Postcards From Shibuya', Nicolay explains what the inspiration was for his new album and how its songs came together.Ever since I first released the original 'City Lights' album, I have been planning a sequel, hence the 'Vol. 1', and later 'Vol. 1.5', in the title. I knew that I wanted it to be another collection of instrumentals, and I knew that I didn't want to simply repeat the formula, and so I wasn't quite sure in what direction to take the sequel. This all changed when I got the chance to visit Tokyo (Japan), in November of 2006.
Continue reading Postcards From Shibuya #1: The story behind Shibuya
Sample some songs from Nicolay's new album...Click the link below to download your copy of the City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya sampler!
If you haven't done so already, you can still download the first single taken from the album, 'Lose Your Way feat. Carlitta Durand', for FREE by clicking here.
"CITY LIGHTS VOL. 2: SHIBUYA (SAMPLER)" DOWNLOAD
The sampler includes snippets of the following tracks::
01 Shibuya Station
04 Meiji Shrine
05 Shadow Dancing
06 Bullet Train
07 Saturday Night feat. Carlitta Durand