Columbia Nights - In All Things (2015)

Columbia Nights
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Columbia Nights - In All Things

There are albums that hardcore soulheads hoard to themselves and only break them out like a hand full of Aces, Jokers, and the Deuce of Spades in a Spades game. This debut full-length album by Columbia Nights is that hand. Sinewy and soft to the touch, these relaxingly melodic lines are both vibe heavy and groovetastic, the kind of album used by heads to illustrate their musical seriousness and good taste. Humbly, it is asked that one does not hoard this whisper of an electrosoul album whose aerial flotation inspire both puff, puff pass, deep conversations about Freire and Morrison, followed by heavy petting under its lava lamp amber glow. Whether needing a meditative hum to cradle you into deep contemplation while driving or in need of an unobtrusive gentle flow to accompany your lovemaking, this is the album for you. No uppers or downers required for this high, all as smooth and natural as the good life. 

Columbia Nights - In All Things

There are albums that hardcore soulheads hoard to themselves and only break them out like a hand full of Aces, Jokers, and the Deuce of Spades in a Spades game. This debut full-length album by Columbia Nights is that hand. Sinewy and soft to the touch, these relaxingly melodic lines are both vibe heavy and groovetastic, the kind of album used by heads to illustrate their musical seriousness and good taste. Humbly, it is asked that one does not hoard this whisper of an electrosoul album whose aerial flotation inspire both puff, puff pass, deep conversations about Freire and Morrison, followed by heavy petting under its lava lamp amber glow. Whether needing a meditative hum to cradle you into deep contemplation while driving or in need of an unobtrusive gentle flow to accompany your lovemaking, this is the album for you. No uppers or downers required for this high, all as smooth and natural as the good life. 


The trio, John E. Daise (bass), Jason Edwards (percussion), and Hayling Prince (keys), are the multi-instrumentalist producers of this chillout high. Together their varied influences borrow from a potpourri of elements that all seem to come together in a cohesive flow of liquid sound: fusion jazz, electronica, neo-soul, lounge, hip hop, urban alternative – all of them make visitations, but none overstay their welcome. The mixture of analog and digital, of live instrumentation and electronic accents fluidly coalesce into something thoughtful, beautiful, and serene. This was similarly true on their debut EP, Dusk/Dawn, but In All Things exceeds that early work with a level of confident surety and calm that the first came close to, but had not fully achieved. Several remixes, singles, and guest spots later, every piece comes together for this trio and their featured artists seamlessly. 

The interesting thing about In All Things is that has the feel of a jazz suite like Duke Ellington’s Black, Brown, and Beige album, but without the religious and roots music overtones of that classic musical sermon. Despite stellar guest turns by Diggs Duke, Sarai Abdul-Malik, Aaron AB Abernathy, Siaira Shawn, B. Jamelle, and Vaughan Octavia, the project has no standouts, because it all stands out as a series of interconnected movements telling a solitary story. Pull out any song, performance, or instrumentation and something critical would be missing from the whole. Rather than highs and lows, there is just a sustained musical greatness that ebbs and flows in and out of your headset like musical waves of rich waters reclaiming the land of thirsty midnight shores. To put it none too lightly, In All Things is a quietly ambitious work to be experienced as a whole. There are no singles here, just flawlessly rendered music sumptuous to the ear.

Daise, Edwards, and Prince identify their future forward sound as soultronic. We just call it beautiful. Highly Recommended.

By L. Michael Gipson

 
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