CD City Lights, Vol. 2: Shibuya (CD 4680350),
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City Lights, Vol. 2: Shibuya

  • 1. Lose Your Way
    2. Shibuya Station
    3. Crossing
    4. Rain in the Ueno Park
    5. Satellite
    6. Saturday Night
    7. Ride Under the Neon Moon, A
    8. Omotesando
    9. Meiji Shrine
    10. Shadow Dancing
    11. Inner Garden, The
    12. Bullet Train
    13. Wake Up in Another Life
    14. Departure
    15. Shibuya Epilogue
    16. Lose Your Way (Theme from "Shibuya")
    17. Saturday Night
    18. Wake Up in Another Life
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 2

  • Credits

    Lyricists: Carlitta Durand; Phonte.
    Personnel: Nicolay (acoustic guitar, keyboards, synthesizer, drums, percussion); Carlitta Durand (vocals, background vocals).
    Audio Mixer: Khrysis.
    Recording information: Chopp Shopp Studios, Durham, NC; East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD.
    Arranger: Nicolay.
    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. ~ Andy Kellman

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