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White Noise: Maya Jane Coles – Don’t Put Me In Your Box

Friday, 13 January 2012

Maya Jane Coles – Don’t Put Me In Your Box

Label: Hypercolour

Parallel Worlds

Something In The Air

Cutting It Fine

Since bursting onto the scene in 2010, Maya Jane Coles quickly dismissed the novelty of a genuinely talented female producer with a slew of great EPs on a range of labels, showcasing a real range within her distinct style; from stellar anthems like What They Say to the slow-mo sensuality of Senseless. She’s carved out a highly individual sound, frequently using clipped synth melodies and moody vocal samples to deadly effect. If I have any criticism of Coles’ sound, it’s that it can occasionally feel weightless in its smoothness and precision, with not an ounce of grit or darkness in her sleek productions. This EP won’t change my mind, because despite the defensive title it is business as usual for Coles, but yet again the sheer quality of these tunes wins you over, sucking you into their sultry grooves over repeated spins until they defiantly won’t leave your head.

The EP divides fairly easily into straight-cut dance numbers and slightly more deviant experiments, but all four of these tracks are pulled off with her trademark polished finesse. Standout opener Parallel Worlds is an explosive start to the set, with a three-chord bassline and tight percussion creating a strong groove from the off. Murky dancefloor vibes abound as it builds to an irresistable heads-down stomper with all the confidence and nuance that made Coles’ name. The EP is bookended with the other straight dance cut in the form of Cutting It Fine, which is an exquisite piece of moody Tech-House marrying sophisticated percussive patterns with a melodic vocal wail that shifts notes to brilliant effect. This is all before those hard, untreated synths dominate a lucid breakdown before being incorporated seamlessly into the main track.

Having used both ends of the EP to yet again prove her dance chops, Coles uses the central two cuts to experiment a little, and the first example, Something In The Air, is a rousing success. The subdued and sexy cut uses soft twinkling synths and low-key percussion to simmer up a dangerous sensuality, topped off by the clear vocal line and moans half-drowned in the mix. Third cut Dub Child is a stab at the difficult world of Dub Techno,  with percussive and melodic lines layered slowly to create a nice tune that still feels a little insubstantial compared to its more overtly impressive preceding tracks.

Coles’ sounds creep under your skin until the grooves feel like they’re running through your veins, and her subtle use of complex melodic combinations is incredibly impressive, but I still can’t help but feel a little weight or an unpolished edge would really help ground her tunes. Disregarding my personal take on her sound, this is another example of Maya Jane Coles at her very best, creating note-perfect tunes purpose built for moody dancefloors. She continues to prove herself an exciting and varied producer, and the outlook looks very promising for her debut LP out later this year.


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