Review: Hands up all of those who expected UK garage legend MJ Cole's first album in 17 years to be an ambient set with neo-classical intentions. While on the surface it may seem like an odd move, he says that it has been "gestating" his "whole life", though in the end he apparently recorded it fairly quickly. Musically, it's well worth a listen, with Cole cannily combining sweeping strings, jazz style double bass, fluid piano solos, opaque ambient chords and very occasional rhythms to create compositions closer in tone to film soundtracks and conceptual neo-classical pieces than the sweaty, soul-fired club bangers he's long been renowned for. Judged purely on musical terms rather than his previous career, it's a hugely impressive achievement and well worth a listen.
Review: UK legend MJ Cole is best known for his vital contribution to drum & bass and then garage over the years, but on his first new album for 17 summers he takes a different turn. Here he dare on the classical music on which he was brought up, and shows off the vast array of studio skills he has picked up over the years, all in order to lay down some evocative early hours ambiance, classical compositions and sunrise sounds on his studio's piano. It's a serene listen, a grown up sound that provides you with plenty of moments of contemplation and is finished with some lush strings for a truly luxuriant sound.