house/ electronica Comfort Maya Jane Coles I/AM/ME/Kobalt ★★★★✩
THE name will draw blank looks from many, but within underground house circles there has been no hotter property during the past few years than Maya Jane Coles. The 25-year-old BritishJapanese Londoner is no Jenny-come-lately, but it’s since 2009, when her first house-based releases dropped on London imprints Dogmatik and 1Trax, that she has hit her straps. A steady output of credible deep house originals and remixes on the labels that matter have followed, leading to appearances at Coachella and Glastonbury, two BBC Radio 1 Essential Mixes and multiple awards, including a nod from Rolling
Stone as one of the 25 DJs ‘‘ who rule the earth’’. Her debut album is less club-driven than many of her EPs — occasionally channelling former dub days and demonstrating an intriguing pop tinge in parts — but what it may lack in tempo or dancefloor fare it makes up for with first-rate production, arrangement and mixing. Emotive lyrics are given extra impact courtesy of vocal performances by Tricky, Hercules & Love Affair’s Kim Ann Foxman and Swede Karin Park, whose haunting performance on Everything, when combined with Coles’s dark, brooding beats, make it an ideal choice as the album’s first single. The dubby When
I’m in Love has a hell of a hook in the form of Thomas Knight’s outstanding vocal. Comfort is a compelling, assured debut, demonstrating an impressive musical versatility often too hard to showcase behind the decks.