MJ Cole: Satellite EP (Prolific)
I hadn’t heard MJ Cole’s music in quite a while, to be honest, since his mainstream hit “Be Sincere” over ten years ago. It was interesting to pick up this EP so many years later, when the entire trend of 2-step had since come and gone and returned in a variety of new forms, to hear his take on the here and now. The same finesse that graced “Be Sincere” and its accompanying album, complete with pizzicato strings, is in effect on all four of the cuts of this release, but rest assured Mr. Cole has very much stayed current. Leading track “Tgv” is a gorgeous funky anthem that is as vibrant as it is physical. Elsewhere on “Hawaii” and “Bordeaux” he draws from a variety of sounds, including dubstep and house. “Hawaii”’s combination of delicate strings and heavy-handed halfbeat is really infectious; Cole’s affinity to the pizzicato string sound is one I recall from even his early days, and it appears in full form on both “Hawaii” and “Bordeaux,” two gorgeous sisters to one another. “Manta” rounds out the set with a more downtempo groove, characterized by square synth arpeggios and shimmering drones. I’ve been listening to the EP consistently for a couple of months trying to articulate just how much I like it and why, and sometimes it’s best to accept that there aren’t always words to describe the feeling that music can evoke. Still, this is lovely — highly, highly recommended.