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in: Interviews

The Foreign Exchange: Enjoying 'Love In Flying Colors' (via Soul Train)

by +FE on October 30, 2013 at 4:34 PM · Comments
The Foreign Exchange is a duo that challenges themselves artistically, but also continues to push sonic boundaries with every album they release. Refusing to compromise their sound or take the predictable route, Phonte and Nicolay trust their musical instincts and each other, adding to a stellar discography that fans and critics have no choice but to appreciate. Through the years, the +FE name has become synonymous with quality music, great attention to artistic detail and creative autonomy. And having released one live project and three remarkable studio albums, the Grammy nominated duo, who have also built on their legacy with a thriving musical imprint, are back with their fourth studio album Love In Flying Colors.

SoulTrain.com had the opportunity to speak with Phonte and Nicolay about the new album, running the +FE imprint, their musical evolution, and why Nicolay would be the rap equivalent to Gucci Mane.

Continue reading The Foreign Exchange: Enjoying 'Love In Flying Colors' (via Soul Train)

in: Reviews

Star News reviews Love In Flying Colors

by +FE on October 30, 2013 at 1:27 PM · Comments
R&B walks hand in hand with electronic music on "Love in Flying Colors." It's the latest release from The Foreign Exchange, the music duo of rapper/singer Phonte Coleman (Little Brother) and Dutch record producer Nicolay Rook. The duo's fourth outing, "Love in Flying Colors," may be their best, and most lush, album to date.

There's a seductive quality to Nicolay's overall sound, solo or with FE, one that marries slices of genres within his own production. That seductiveness comes from a romantic vibe that evokes the moods and colors of nightlife. The overall atmosphere culminates in elegance and delicious sounds. Look no further than Nicolay's "City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya" or his collaboration with the experimental jazz combo The Hot at Nights where they re-worked that album with glorious results.

Continue reading Star News reviews Love In Flying Colors

in: Media » Photos

Photos of The Foreign Exchange live at Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh NC

by +FE on October 29, 2013 at 1:47 PM · Comments
Photos of The Foreign Exchange live at Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh NC
Great photos of the Love In Flying Colors release show at the Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh NC, courtesy of RDP3 Photography.

View this photo gallery

in: News

Available now on vinyl: Love In Flying Colors

by +FE on October 29, 2013 at 10:48 AM · Comments
We are excited to announce the long awaited vinyl release of Love In Flying Colors. The Foreign Exchange's fourth studio album is available now as a regular double LP set and as a limited edition blue vinyl double LP set including a 7" Call It Home / Pity single. Both sets are packaged in a full color gatefold and come with a FREE MP3 download of the album.

Click here to visit the +FE Music Store! TheForeignExchangeDLX-Front_1024x1024.jpg
in: Interviews

Nicolay talks Love in Flying Colors, going the independent route, and early hip-hop influences (via The Come Up Show)

by +FE on October 29, 2013 at 8:09 AM · Comments
IMG_5799-Edit.jpg From the beginning, hip-hop has always had its dynamic producer/emcee duos, artists whose names have become inseparable over the years. Pete Rock and CL Smooth. Eric B. and Rakim. Kweli and Hi-Tek. Perhaps one of the most interesting - and unlikely - pairings of the past decade has been that of Nicolay and Phonte as The Foreign Exchange. Born Matthijs Rook, Nicolay grew up playing in bands in the Netherlands and wasn't introduced to hip-hop until later in his life. Phonte, meanwhile, grew up in North Carolina and went on to found one of the most beloved hip-hop groups of the early 2000s, Little Brother. Through sheer fate, the two connected on the Okayplayer message boards and began collaborating on what was initially no more than a side project, 2004′s Connected.

Then, something amazing happened. The album found a following, enough for Nicolay to take a leap of faith and move from the Netherlands to Wilmington, North Carolina to pursue music full time. Now, nearly ten years, four albums, and a Grammy nomination deep, it's clear Nicolay's leap of faith paid off. Through constantly changing their sound and releasing their music independently, The Foreign Exchange have managed to build an impressive fan base and critical success. Their latest work, the funk and soul-infused Love in Flying Colors, has continued in that vein, and is garnering some great reviews. We caught up with Nicolay to talk about his latest album, going the independent route, his early hip-hop influences, and much more.

Continue reading Nicolay talks Love in Flying Colors, going the independent route, and early hip-hop influences (via The Come Up Show)

in: Reviews

State Magazine reviews Love In Flying Colors [NL]

by +FE on October 23, 2013 at 7:05 PM · Comments
In het rijtje 'Nederlandse topproducers' wordt Matthijs Rook, alias Nicolay, vaak vergeten. Dat terwijl hij de enige Nederlandse hiphopproducer is met een Grammy-nominatie op zak en hij de enige is die veel Amerikaanse hiphopliefhebbers uit zo'n rijtje zouden kennen. Inmiddels woont hij al zo'n tien jaar in de VS en produceert hij vrijwel uitsluitend voor The Foreign Exchange, de groep die hij samen met rapper Phonte vormt. Zo gek is het dus ook weer niet dat hij niet zo'n grote naam is in de Nederlandse hiphop.

Continue reading State Magazine reviews Love In Flying Colors [NL]

in: Interviews

The Foreign Exchange's indie success story (via Creative Loafing Atlanta)

by +FE on October 22, 2013 at 9:08 PM · Comments
Soulful hip-hop duo talks new album and DIY life
In the world of independent artists, North Carolina's soul/hip-hop duo the Foreign Exchange offers a rare case of DIY done right. Since hitting the scene in 2004 with its debut album Connected, singer/rapper and former Little Brother MC Phonte Coleman and Dutch producer Nicolay (born Matthijs Rook) have forged their own path without the support of an outside label.

Through their self-run FE Music imprint, the group has not only released its own critically acclaimed music (as well as DVDs, merchandise, and other products) over the last decade, but also projects by other artists, such as instrumentalist Zo!, singer Jeanne Jolly, and more. It'd be hard not to give props to such a well-oiled machine for churning out new sounds on the regular and steadily growing its fan base. With the Foreign Exchange's fourth album, Love in Flying Colors, the machine shows no signs of slowing down. This latest production presents a band that's at the next step of its organizational evolution. "We're fortunate enough that ... with [Love in Flying Colors] and other titles -- as a label, we've already set our own record in terms of our accomplishments," Nicolay says. "Being an independent artist is not for everybody. It takes a lot of dedication and a lot of time, but obviously you're working for yourself and there's nothing better than that."

Continue reading The Foreign Exchange's indie success story (via Creative Loafing Atlanta)


Phonte's Crossover (via Marvin's Corridor)

by +FE on October 21, 2013 at 12:57 PM · Comments
In late 2013, The Foreign Exchange released their fourth studio album 'Love In Flying Colours', proving beyond question that the group can add the string of longevity to an already impressive bow. The album also forces us to ask whether it is time to crown Phonte the first rapper to have successfully transcended the confines of his lyrical fiefdom and reposition himself in the world of convincing singer, songwriter. Garnering a Grammy nomination in 2010 suggests unequivocally that he is, but he ought to be lauded for this feat far more than he currently is.

Many rappers have sought to navigate this precarious path, but none have disappeared down the R&B rabbit-hole as impressively as Phonte. Some have insisted on singing their own hooks - here's looking at you Ja Rule, Eminem and 50 Cent - and this trend shows no sign of abating. Owing to audiences demand for more than lyrical content, delivery and clever wordplay, rappers such as J. Cole, Kendrick Lemar and latterly Big Sean have all recently felt obligated to sing hooks and even full verses. Though none have strayed too far into melodic heavy territory.

Continue reading Phonte's Crossover (via Marvin's Corridor)

in: News

Top Five finalists for the 2013 SoulTracks Readers' Choice Awards announced!

by +FE on October 14, 2013 at 10:33 AM · Comments
SoulTracks just announced the Top Five finalists in the 2013 SoulTracks Readers' Choice Awards! The Foreign Exchange is included in the top five of two categories:

Independent Album of the Year:
The Foreign Exchange - Love In Flying Colors

Duo or Group of the Year:
The Foreign Exchange

Winners will be announced on December 9.
in: Interviews

The Foreign Exchange: Being The Best Self (via Exclaim!)

by +FE on October 13, 2013 at 5:22 PM · Comments
By now, the backstory of how R&B/electronica/hip hop duo the Foreign Exchange came to be is a prime example of the collaborative power of the internet age: virtually meet on the OkayPlayer hip-hop message board, collaborate by sending digital music files (Netherlands meets North Carolina) and create a hot album without ever physically having met (debut album Connected). Well, 2004 feels like a lifetime ago and even though Phonte Coleman and Nicolay (real name Matthijs Rook) now live in the same country, five albums deep the process still hasn't changed -- they still create music the same way, only now it's an interstate exchange (Phonte in Raleigh and Nicolay in Wilmington, NC). The biggest thing about the band's popularity is the devoted fan base and how they interpret the purposefully way each album puts a different spin on the soul and hip-hop elements -- Connected was decidedly hip-hop heavy while 2008's Leave It All Behind was arguably more soul-influenced.

While last album, 2010's Authenticity, took a decidedly stark and stripped-down musical turn, new effort Love In Flying Colors is intentionally brighter, expressed as an sonic exploration of the complex emotion, and represents a solidly consistent album for the duo; Phonte (ex of hip-hop crew Little Brother) has grown tremendously as a vocalist, perfectly complemented by Nicolay's ever-evolving yet signature "electro-soul" sound.

The Grammy-nominated duo state that they hate being put in a box -- as independent artists (and as founders of indie label FE+ Music) mainstream award recognition or underground fan base expectations are noted, but don't ultimately influence how they want the music to sound. It's about making music their way, drawing from hip-hop, R&B, and all points in between.

Continue reading The Foreign Exchange: Being The Best Self (via Exclaim!)

in: Interviews

Getting To Know The Foreign Exchange (via Clash)

by +FE on October 10, 2013 at 6:43 PM · Comments
Though you should know them already...
FE-press6.jpg This is normally the part where I give an overcooked explanation of the artist in question. This is where I wreck my brain to detail the sheer magnitude of the music, in hopes of getting you to see things my way.

So I'll try another approach: If you like Rhye or Quadron, you'll love The Foreign Exchange. For almost 10 years, the Grammy-nominated duo has created the same electro-soul as the aforementioned acts, but with a deeper soul slant.

Continue reading Getting To Know The Foreign Exchange (via Clash)

in: Reviews

Indy Week reviews Love In Flying Colors

by +FE on October 9, 2013 at 11:38 AM · Comments
When The Foreign Exchange released its debut album, Connected, in 2004, the experience felt like a sigh of relief: For Phonte Coleman, it was a break from the brand of Little Brother, the then-buzzing, traditionalist rap trio suddenly saddled with the task of saving all hip-hop. For Dutch producer Nicolay Rook, then living in the Netherlands, the record marked a formal entry into underground hip-hop and the auspicious introduction of a major talent. And for the listener, the unlikely duo revealed sonic surprises through simple, subtle adjustments to the indie rap blueprint. Whether that meant a jauntily jumbled Bing Crosby sample on "Let's Move" or the rap-verse-free R&B of "Come Around," Connected presented an inclusive, celebratory spirit.

A series of sea changes has since defined The Foreign Exchange's output, fitting for a band wrought of artistic restlessness, anyway. 2008's Leave It All Behind presented a sophisticated pocket symphony rumination on the ups-and-downs of long-term relationships, while 2010's Authenticity bordered on hopelessness and melancholy held together by frosty synthesizers. "Love is at worst an excuse," Coleman sang. "At best it's a truce." With each album, Coleman and Rook found the kind of groove that they could've ridden for the next decade of their discography; instead, they've become a DIY R&B institution, hellbent on reinventing themselves each time out.

Continue reading Indy Week reviews Love In Flying Colors

in: Reviews

Potholes In My Blog reviews Love In Flying Colors

by +FE on October 9, 2013 at 11:05 AM · Comments
After forming an unlikely allegiance years ago, The Foreign Exchange released a stellar stream of albums and built a devoted fan base that remain connected to their music. While continuing to assemble the tightly knit collective of collaborators associated with their imprint and collecting a Grammy nomination, +FE has continued to place themselves at the forefront of the electronic-soulful movement with other genre bending artists that push musical boundaries. And now, they are back with their fifth studio album. It's Love In Flying Colors, which is a light-hearted, evenly polished album that speaks to the complexities of love and relationships; topics that can be quite mundane and emotionally taxing. But this time around, The Foreign Exchange presents it in a way that's less weighty adding more understanding and sophistication to one of the world's greatest mysteries.

With only ten tracks, the album is shorter and doesn't have as many transitions and open instrumental fields allowing for a more tightly connected work. The guest features list is heavier but we still see Nicolay serving as the primary instrumentalist with Phonte maintaining his space as the pulse within the music. This album also shows Nic expanding the +FE sound and going deeper into previously explored soundscapes while Te's voice reveals a more experienced singer. And though the album has some minor pitfalls, it's still a welcomed addition to an already impressive resume.

Continue reading Potholes In My Blog reviews Love In Flying Colors

in: Reviews

Nu-Soul Magazine reviews Love In Flying Colors

by +FE on October 8, 2013 at 5:22 PM · Comments
As the premier artists representing the indie soul community, The Foreign Exchange have gained a reputation and a following for creating music that combines classic and progressive soul with hip-hop and experimental touches. Dutch producer Nicolay and US rapper/singer Phonte, along with a menagerie of some of the best vocalists around, never fail to deliver a piece of work that stays true to their core sound while also pushing things forward. Their latest effort, the enthusiastically titled Love In Flying Colors, continues this trend but also manages to be the collective's best work since their groundbreaking album Leave It All Behind. Compact and concise, classic yet modern, Love In Flying Colors hits all the right notes.

Continue reading Nu-Soul Magazine reviews Love In Flying Colors

in: Interviews

MY Lifestyle Magazine interviews The Foreign Exchange

by +FE on October 6, 2013 at 5:31 PM · Comments
This international duo's new album "Love In Flying Colors" brings soulful beats, honest lyrics and inspiring grooves. The group spoke to MY Lifestyle Magazine about the evolution of their sound.
After three successful studio releases, a remix album and a live record, the musical duo known as The Foreign Exchange introduces us to their latest effort, "Love In Flying Colors," which was released on Sept. 24. True to their familiar blend of eclectic R&B, fused with hip-hop, electronic, house, a little bit of acoustics, and an array of other influences, the album is giving music lovers something to celebrate.

It's the kind of music that reaches into your soul and makes you want to momentarily disconnect from everything else. The beats will make your head nod back and forth. The lyrics will raise your spirits.

Continue reading MY Lifestyle Magazine interviews The Foreign Exchange

in: Reviews

Popblerd! reviews Love In Flying Colors

by +FE on October 3, 2013 at 5:19 PM · Comments
Acing R&B With Flying Colors: The Foreign Exchange Return With 4th Studio Album.
You heard of neo-soul, yeah? R&B duo The Foreign Exchange makes what I like to call "prog-soul." What initially drew me to them musically was the fact that, musically, some of their soundscapes would be just as home on a Genesis or Yes record. Which is kinda crazy, because I fucking hate prog rock. I guess if you combine that sound with warm, soulful singing, navel-gazing lyrics, some jazz vibes and a pinch of hip-hop flavor, you get hotness. Who knew?

Anyhow, less than a year after dropping a remix set that was less like a compilation and more like a new album, Phonte and Nicolay return with an actual new album called Love In Flying Colors. It sticks fairly close to the template set by the three previous FE+ studio albums, but that isn't a bad thing. While I'll always give props to those who experiment artistically, sometimes it's just as good for an artist (or a group, or a duo) to know their lane and stick to it. Love songs? Hazy synths? Phonte's every-man singing voice? All here, and all good.

Continue reading Popblerd! reviews Love In Flying Colors

in: Reviews

Pitchfork reviews Love In Flying Colors

by +FE on October 2, 2013 at 9:56 AM · Comments
The Foreign Exchange introduced their latest album, Love in Flying Colors, with a pair of trailer videos called "Her" and "Him," which showed the title characters listening to each Foreign Exchange album in succession at different stages in their lives. Accompanied by the slogan "life is all about keeping a beat" the message that this is music to grow with may have been a little too on-the-nose, but this process of changing and maturing has been the underlying theme for the duo's music since 2008's Leave It All Behind. Coming out after the dissolution of singer Phonte's rap group Little Brother, that album's embrace of R&B felt like as much of a fulfillment of the title as its narratives of relationships in turmoil did. Phonte has generally positioned his move away from rap and into R&B--and, more specifically, R&B that explores the mundane intricacies of everyday relationships--as a maturation befitting someone his age (he's now 34). Promoting Authenticity in 2010, he suggested that there was a void to fill for R&B "about getting married, having kids, slowing down."

Love In Flying Colors is shooting for that goal: Broadly, it's a happy, settled album that seems to be about coming to terms with a new, stable relationship in the wake of a more tumultuous one. To achieve that tone, it's more musically ambitious than anything the Foreign Exchange have attempted before, incorporating live instrumentation throughout and dabbling in a comfy palette of funk, soul, disco, soft rock, and touches of house. It's crisp, familiar and accessible, but taking this approach also holds the group to a higher standard and plays against its strengths. Previous Foreign Exchange projects could lean a little bit on novelty: 2004's Connected proved that engaging, soulful hip-hop could be created by a Dutch producer and a North Carolina rapper collaborating over the internet; Leave It All Behind showed that Phonte had a better singing voice than anyone expected; Authenticity was a moody, drifting work full of minimal, electronic production that presaged the wave of bedroom R&B acts that would start sweeping blogs a year or two later. In contrast, Love In Flying Colors isn't just holding itself up against historical precedent, it's had the unfortunate luck of falling in the middle of a disco revival zeitgeist without the on-hand studio resources of, say, Daft Punk or Pharrell.

Continue reading Pitchfork reviews Love In Flying Colors

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