LIFE LOVES US
» RELEASE DATE MAR 08 '05
» DigiPak CD/Digital ©2005 mono¨cromatica
» press kit: PT/UK
QUOTES & REVIEWS:
From All Music Guide
«After any number of inspired collaborations and solo efforts in the 1990s, Nicolette seemed to disappear for a while, thus making her third solo album, Life Loves Us, a bit more of an event as a result. Right from the start it's clear her lovely voice hasn't lost anything in the time away, beginning with the trippy, quirkily manic cover of Paul Simon's "Feelin' Groovy" (here simply called "Groovy") with the same high, sweet purr familiar from the past. With that as an inspired start, Life Loves Us traces a path that not only reconfirms Nicolette's wide-ranging tastes but also her abilities to make sounds and styles her own, much like other such polymaths as Natacha Atlas, Björk, and Billy Mackenzie. Many songs show her readily singing in a strong, effortless flow like prime Sarah Vaughan or Ella Fitzgerald, even while the manic, restless brew of everything from ambient tones to frenetic glitch bass places her firmly in the 21st century. Songs like "Wholesome" and the hyperenergetic "I Am Where the Party's At" sound like they could never have been recorded any earlier than now, alive and immediate rather than simply retracing the past. Sometimes placing her voice deeper in the mix like a distant broadcast ("Jenny" is a striking example), other times letting it burst forth like a fountain of joy, she shows her skill as a producer as much as a singer, while moments like a sudden burst of gentle laughter add to the bubbling happiness throughout. The participation of a variety of guests on spoken word interludes (in languages from Welsh and Icelandic to Tamil) might seem forced, but are handled so deftly as brief transitional breaks that it really does make Life Loves Us a world music album in truth. Furthermore, can one beat an album that references everything from "Happy Birthday to You" to the Gap Band to a song from a Mel Brooks movie?»
From The Milk Factory, May 2005:
«After a nine years hiatus during which she set up her own record label and kicked off a DJ career, chanteuse extraordinaire Nicolette finally returns with her long-awaited third album, Life Loves Us. Born in Glasgow from Nigerian parents, she spent her formative years between Scotland and Niger, before moving to Paris for a while to complete a degree in French, then to London in the late eighties. That’s where she hooked up with legendary dance producers and musicians Shut Up & Dance, who produced her first EPs and her seminal Now Is Early album, released in 1992, a very appropriate title for an record that was years ahead of anything else around. Although the music offered some totally new perspectives, it is Nicolette’s unmistakable voice and her capacity to craft incredibly complex melodies and make them sound totally natural which became the trademark of her work.
Three years later, Nicolette appeared on two songs from Massive Attack’s Protection, and was eventually signed to acid jazz label Talkin’ Loud. Her first single for the label, a re-worked version of her song No Government, had her labelled an anarchist by a section of the UK music press, but the follow up album, 'Let No-One Live Rent Free In You Head', definitely established her as one of the most pioneering artists around. Featuring an impressive list of collaborators, including Plaid, Alec Empire, Dego and 4-Hero, the album became an instant success on the underground scene and contributed to German imprint K7! re-releasing Now Is Early and getting the singer to record her own DJ Kicks Sessions, once again accompanied by Plaid.
'Life Loves Us' marks once again a change of direction for Nicolette. Although retaining some of the atmospheric fundamentals of its predecessors, this album is definitely more upbeat and openly positive. Entirely produced by Nicolette and released on her Early Records label, this album is the fruit of four years gestation and features twelve tracks plus numerous interludes inserted in between acting as snapshots of life. Incredibly varied, yet extremely focused and consistent, this third album takes the listener on a psychedelic journey through constantly changing electronic soundscapes, incorporating elements of soul, jazz, drum’n’bass, pop and traditional African and Asian music to redefine once again Nicolette’s musical scope.
Although surrounded by numerous contributors, Nicolette appears here more in charge than ever, defining the musical line of this record from start to finish. Opening with an offbeat cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s 1967 hit 'Feelin’ Groovy', Nicolette goes on to attach her subtle poetry onto delicate songs such as 'Fire In The Heart', 'Down Day' or 'Worship', or onto the more contrasted sonic terrains of 'Sunshine', 'High Wave' or 'Pretty Autumn Shade'. Always trying to expose her voice in new ways, Nicolette develops her range further and still manages to surprise and impress. Rising above broken beats, noisy string sections and intricate sound assemblages, Nicolette’s voice appears here more varied and mature than ever. Her melodies are as complex and subtle as on previous work, yet, seen through the coloured glass that is this album, they take a whole new dimension and contribute to this album sounding extremely fresh and modern.» 4.4/5
From Ventrilocution Zine, April 2005:
«For the vast public majority, the name Nicolette shouldn’t mean anything in particular. However, once you throw the name ‘Massive Attack’ and 1994’s ‘Protection’ into the game, some minds will absolutely remember that feminine voice on ‘Sly’, perhaps the greatest highlight in an album not so convincing as ‘Blue Lines’ was. That feminine voice is, as you might have already guessed, Nicolette. In the course of a 15 year-long solo career, this 2005 release by her label, Early Records, is just her third album, and it's clear that Nicolette takes quality over quantity (thankfully).
So, six years after Early’s establishment, ‘Life Loves Us’ finally gets to see the light of day and all the elements that made her past efforts so singular are not only present, but also magnified and refined. Nicolette’s voice is as unique as ever, warm and with that childish tone so characteristic of her vocal delivery. The songs are once again a psychedelic twisted voyage on drum’n’bass, dub, groovy sort of dance rhythms and some airy synth-lead symphonic moments, like the beautiful ‘Fire in the Heart’ or the classic desolation set of ‘Worship’’s affecting strings. The overall approach taken on ‘Live Love Us’ is not instantly grasped, as the compositions transpire a certain aura of apparent simplicity and trouble-free musicality. However, that’s an image that tends to shake off the more you listen to the songs and, as a result, this is surely not an immediate release, as one could assume upon the first hearings.
One of the greatest achievements of this album is the somehow comfortable and pleasant atmosphere Nicolette recreated, where the personal familiar interludes between the songs have contributed enormously to that effect, and therefore, obviously, the singer purposely wanted this album to be a reflection not only of herself as a musician, but also as a person.
‘Life Loves Us’ is Nicolette’s best work to date and, keeping the tradition, we’ll probably not hear from her in the next years. This is a disc that reminds the most absent-minded of us that life is good after all, and worth living. Life loves us, indeed. - Luís Oliveira
From Knowledge Magazine, March 2005 issue (Teebee cover):
«If you don’t recall spaced-out UK chanteuse from her two previous albums (the first of which, the Shut Up And Dance-produced ‘Now Is Early’, is something of a lost classic) then you may recognise her voice from Massive Attack’s ‘Protection’ album. ‘Life Loves Us’ (co-produced with Plaid) is easily her best work yet, a cheery, psychedelic joyride through broken drum & bass/hip-hop beats and mashed-up electronic lullaby melodies. Nicolette’s voice remains the big draw here, however: pitched somewhere between that of a little girl and a crazy old crone, it’s truly a thing of wonder. Björk fans: you need this.» - JM
From International DJ Magazine, January 2005 issue:
«Although this is Nicolette's first album of new material for eight years, hers is still one of the most recognisable voices in dance music, and on the evidence of this album she certainly hasn't lost her touch for producing startingly original material. Overall, 'Life Loves Us' is a very positive album. Uplifting and uptempo in its musical and lyrical outlook, but still challenging in its construction, echoing her previous work with Plaid, amongst others.
There is a genuine pop aesthetic to the album too, most evident on 'Wholesome' and the opening track, a cover of Simon & Garfunkel's 'Groovy', where those playful vocals are characteristically offset by complex lo-fi rhythms and psychedelic instrumentation. 'Life Loves Us' is a unique album, and, if you've fallen for any of Nicolette's music in the past, then this album will quickly win your affection.» - Lurch (4/5)
There's a review we found on the web, and here's some excerpts:
«It kicks off with Groovy, remember that hippy tune from the sixties, 'feelin' groovy'?, well this is a bouncing, funked-up cover with Nicolette's subtle sweet vox injecting it with much less cheese and much more... well... groove. It's also quite short, like the original, but nicely sets the tone.
Following an interlude, which are peppered throughout and add much to the experience, we move on to Sunshine, this is atmospheric, bright and full of deep of sounds. 'I'm made of sunshine...'
Next up is Jenny, a lower tempo, drum and bass fabel about apprehention. Dunno who Jenny is supposed to be.
Fire in the Heart is the most atmospheric track, reminds me a little of 'Bird of Prey' by Fatboy Slim, but a hell of a lot better, yes, that good.
Wholesome. Had this one on single for a while and it's one of my favourite songs ever. So rhythmic and catchy, and has lots of positivity. All about the obvious thoughts in human nature that get warped by society. Wholesome... Awesome!
Down Day. This feels a little out of place, being an obvious down tune, but it's not all doom and gloom. More about feeling down being a state of mind, something like that. Very mellow. The interlude after this is the best ones. (...)
High Wave, a jazzy funked-up number. Very positive again. Nice use of beats and jazzy instruments.
I am where the party's at. This is great, using crowd noise as part of the tune. Kind of fairgroup element to it. About resisting being labelled and being upbeat and liking to party, I think. Nice little bit where everything goes quiet and Nicolette sings "Quiet time to contemplate... 3x, oh just forget it then!"
Pretty Autumn Shade. Nice, feels autumnal. Bit of talk about other seasons, comparing them to emotions. Very mellow but fast paced, atmospheric and funky.
Worship. Very slow and haunting. Interlude is a weird rendition of Happy Birthday Nicolette.
Soulfully. Another big fav. So chilled with some breathtaking scratching. Nice sounds all mixed in together with some insightful lyrics.
Guru. Nicely closing the album is this big tune with some asian influence about being your own Guru and making up your own mind. This sums Nicolette up quite well.» - Rob [read the complete review here]
BACK TO RELEASES
||FIRE IN THE HEART
||I AM WHERE THE PARTY'S AT
||PRETTY AUTUMN SHADE
|©2005 m¨c | mono¨cromatica / Early Records
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CLICK ON THE ICONS ABOVE TO LISTEN TO SOUND CLIPS OF ALL THE SONGS IN THE ALBUM. ALSO, HERE YOU'LL FIND THE SAME CLIPS, PLUS A SHORT DESCRIPTION OF EACH ONE.
READ THE LYRICS FROM 'LIFE LOVES US' HERE