Maya Jane Coles offers expansive 24-track showcase with ‘Take Flight’ [Album Review]
Maya Jane Coles has always been an outlier in the house music world. While firmly planted in underground culture, the British producer has consistently proven a brazen non-conformist, as exemplified by her various side projects like Nocturnal Sunshine and She Is Danger. The latest evidence to support the claim is Coles’ new album, Take Flight, which brings an astounding 24 tracks to the table.
Maya made her break onto the scene in 2010 with her What They Say EP, the title track of which proved a widespread commercial success. In 2011, at just 23 years old, Coles delivered her debut Essential Mix. It wasn’t long until she found herself at the forefront of a burgeoning underground scene, pushing a distinctly melodic, yet moody left-field sound.
Maya’s new album Take Flight picks up where her debut full-length Comfort left off: pushing deep, often soporific soundscapes with a seductive dose of UK flair. It’s the kind of album which feels perfectly ripe for soundtracking a bustling coffee shop or serenading a breezy outdoor audience.
Where the album shines best is in its ability to seamlessly integrate the history of UK club music with softer songwriting. Coles’ compositions span the gamut of garage, deep house, downtempo, while further incorporating influence from dub, jazz and post rock. It’s the kind of alluring melange which Maya has made her name on, and paired with her own airy vocals, it’s an infatuating combination.
In this sense, however the new album doesn’t necessarily break new ground for Coles: she knows her strength and she’s playing to them. That’s not a bad thing per se — especially considering the strength of Maya’s musical predilections — but at a runtime of nearly two hours, it’s a formula which eventually begins to lose steam.
At the end of day, however, one must give credit to Coles for the sheer boldness of releasing a 24-track electronic album. In 2017’s single-driven culture, Take Flight represents the antithesis of the industry’s obsession with instant gratification. Though it doesn’t necessarily push the creative envelope for the British producer, Take Flight ultimately serves as an eclectic (and largely enjoyable) showcase of Maya Jane Coles’ expansive tastes.
Take Flight is out now via Maya Jane Coles’ I/AM/ME.