Not A Music Journalist Listens to Shibuya: City Lights, Vol. 2 by Nicolay

This
actually arrived on a day when I was not feeling well. Having been knocked out
by pain relievers the UPS delivered me from my near comatose state and
delivered Shibuya.  Here’s my track by
track opinion.

1)Lose Your
Way – The vocal is light and breezy, mixed with the instrumentation and I can’t
really tell what all was used, it makes for an overall breezy track.  Based on the lyrics and again the music you
feel like no matter what’s going on in the city, you still love losing your way
in it.

2)Shibuya
Station – this has a very metropolitan sound and puts me in the mind of Weather
Report brand fusion. The tune conveys a hustle and bustle, an energy that makes
you want to go do something.

3)Crossing –
Really a continuation of the previous tune. I didn’t pay attention to the track
listing so thought it was the same song that had changed up a bit. The
transition is flawless.

4)Rain in
the Ueno Park – The rain sound is a nice back drop. This isn’t a dreary rain
song, but more of a comforting kick back rain sound. Again I’m hearing fusion.

5)Satellite –
what hear on this one is fusion meets Jack Your Body era house.

6)Saturday
Night  – This is a party song. I love the
vocal, the house style beat and keys. You can see the party going on and it’s
the part of the party where everybody is feeling it, dancing and enjoying the
music.

7)A Ride
Under the Neon Moon  – this is the on the
way out the party transition.

8)Omotesando
– This is a perfect wind down song, it has a jazz flavor but not smooth jazz,
not fusion either.  This is the sit down
and kick your shoes off exhale song.

9)Meiji
Shrine – this sounds like a shift. There’s a sound in that sounds either like a
bell or breaking glass I’m not sure. There is a mystery to this cut and I want
to know what it is.

10)Shadow
Dancing – I don’t know anything about Asian musical tradition, but I feel like
some of it might be conveyed here.  This
also sounds theatrical when those string sounding keys come in.

11)The Inner
Garden – this conveys rejuvenation, like the sun is coming up and everything is
waking up to meet it.

12)Bullet
Train – on the first pass this sounded like a Monday morning time to go get it
as I listened a few more times it sounds more like it is about focus on any day
of the week.

13)Wake up
in another life – the vocals make sense on this and I like how they are layered
near the end.

14)Departure
– like the “horn” sounds.  The title
conveys, departure from the city as well as departure from this musical experience.

15)Shibuya Epilogue
– I will say that Nicolay is dead wrong for this one. Dead wrong because it’s a
teaser. I was feeling it, it was swinging, and the vocalist was swinging. This
should have been a full length track.

16-18)Are
instrumental versions of Lose Your Way, Saturday Night and Wake Up In Another
Life

 

I didn’t
read any press on this I knew it was coming out and the only expectation that I
had was if this was a Nicolay project that it would be good and it is.  What makes it good is that: 1)There are no
songs to skip through on this CD.  It’s
tightly produced, the songs are not opus length but are a length that is
enjoyable (with the exception of Shibuya Epilogue, which was too short), and
the number of tracks is right. 2)The CD tells a story.  For me it tells a story that is in a certain
locale but could be in any metropolitan area. The story is told in two parts
and the two parts work together to make a whole. 3)I believe that the sound is
cross cultural, cross genre and cross generational.  It could be listened to in the home, car or iPod
of anyone and finally 4)the vocalist Carlitta Durand. What I hear is that she is
comfortable singing in more than a few musical genres. We got a taste of what
she can do on Shibuya, let’s hope we get more.

 

If you have
any rotation right now, I recommend Shibuya: City Lights, Vol. 2 for heavy
rotation. 

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