Maya Jane Coles has steered a steady and prolific career as a DJ and remixer since teaching herself the rudiments of her trade at the age of fifteen through the wonders of computer based DJ packages. Having filed Essential Selection mixes for Radio 1 and remixed for top dogs such as Gorillaz and Massive Attack, Maya Jane was named fourteenth most influential DJ in the world by Rolling Stone, a prestigious feather in anyone’s musical cap and headphones. The perpetual challenge for a DJ when creating an album is the choice of vocalist for the tracks; it can either lift a song or submerge it and mire it in mediocrity.
Maya Jane apprenticed in trip-hop and the Bristol Sound of Massive Attack is clearly an influence on ‘Dreamer’, a groover that smoothes its way along a familiar mid-nineties beatscape. Deep House is another genre that is close to the artiste’s heart, going so deep that you could be forgiven for thinking that you were listening to a track recorded in a voluminous underground reservoir, the reverb is that heavy. Opening track ‘Comfort’sounds like it could have featured on one of Sasha’s sets back in the day, sounding like low thunder on the horizon of a cavernous dancehall. ‘Burning Bright’ is another reverb-heavy rumbler, which this time around actually moves the mindset to being at one with oneself in a groaningly large flotation tank. The most eagerly awaited track is ‘Wait For You’, which features enigmatic Bristolian trip-hop legend Tricky on guest vocals. From such a strong, edgy opening from such an epically dark figure, the tracks morphs into a house groove, which seems to be a bit of a cop-out, definitely fulfilling the promise of the sum of the parts. The lyrics are great, though; “…love your face, the way you move in the lonely place”- pure Tricky, pure excellence.
‘When I’m In Love’ features the undoubtedly exquisitely soulful vocal talents of Thomas Knights, but this is an example of where the DJ-with-vocals adventure can go wrong. The song simply doesn’t know what it wants to be and doesn’t serve either the instrumentalist or vocalist in what they are trying to achieve. Instead of achieving purity, you achieve abstraction. ‘Come Home’ features a strong country and western guitar motif that works to an extent and shifts the overall style to a more poppy and familiar musical style. Comfort is certainly a polished release, no question about that, but unfortunately this time around too many tracks just don’t create a sensation or qualify for a breakout award to put more stars on the scoreboard. Jeremy Shields