- Available on:
- Maya Jane Coles' Website
Maya Jane Coles
Maya Jane Coles DJ-Kicks
[!K7 Records; 04/16/2012]
Even on the Decks, Maya Jane Coles Is In A Class of Her Own
I probably shouldn’t use words like “sophisticated” and “classy” in a review of house music, mainly cause it makes me sound like my high school art appreciation teacher. But I hope that by bringing attention to it I inoculate myself from the stigma of lameness that surrounds those words, because the trademark of London upstart Maya Jane Coles is, in a nutshell, house with class. And judging from her first-ever commercially available DJ compilation, that’s her style on the decks too. Aggressive but not aggro, Maya takes us through 22 tracks of house, from the garage stylings of Leeds newcomer Last Magpie to two of her own tracks, from the glittering “Not Listening” to the slightly more wobbly “Meant To Be.”
Maya starts out with the synth-y post-garage of “Deft” from Loqux and Past. Then we have some interesting choices. “Larse,” by Karoo combines dreamy trance synth with shards of vocals by the African Childrens’ Choir. Milscot’s ”All Alone” (Domyan Just Slow Remix) features Angela Sheik singing days like this they beat me down, like delicate emo in a house package.
Sigward’s more pounding house cleanses the palate before Maya’s own exclusive track, “Not Listening,” a pounding track that keeps to house’s formal structure but displays a steady virtuosity.
From there she hits a stride, and cuts from Caribou and Tripmastaz that match Maya’s intricate, flowing style, introduce the monstrous “Meant To Be,” Maya’s second exclusive track, which she made under her Nocturnal Sunshine moniker. True to her dark name, “Meant To Be,” burps and wobbles with the best two-step. But she keeps it interesting. Was that a trumpet solo that I heard right before the final drop?
With that kind of explosive energy, by the time we slip into Last Magpie’s “No More Stories,” it feels like it’s about to get crazy right about then. The garage vocal tells us that it’s that time of the night, the witching hour: What must I do to prove to you/What will it take to make you see/I could be all you need? The deep, ominous bass like an evil organ tips you off that nothing good will come of this.
But does that stop us? No. We still have Youandewan’s muscular remix of Gerry Read’s “Roomland.” Youandewan seems cut from the same cloth as Maya — he keeps the quiet interesting, using tinkly percussion and smooth flourishes.
It’s fitting that Maya ends her mix with “Hunter Rocket to the Sky,” a 2005 track by Manchester DJ Claro Intelecto, who is known for his self-restraint. He could be a role model, except that Maya Jane Coles proves that as a DJ and producer, she doesn’t really need one.