Foreign Exchange producer Nicolay joins the NC-based Hot at Nights on stage
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Born and raised in the Netherlands, classically trained multi-instrumentalist and producer Nicolay played in a number of hip-hop and R&B bands around his homeland, but it wasn’t until 2000 that he decided to start producing his own beats. In 2002 Little Brother MC Phonte Coleman stumbled across one of them on Okayplayer’s message board and asked if he could put his rhymes over it, and soon a friendship and a musical relationship were born. This transatlantic collaboration, which they called the Foreign Exchange, led to an album, Connected, in 2004, after which Nicolay continued producing tracks for Little Brother and Cesar Comanche, releasing City Lights, Vol. 1.5 first only online and then through BBE Records in 2005. The Dutch Masters, Vol. 1, which featured Nicolay DJing, came out that same year, followed by Here in 2006. In 2008 the producer teamed up with Houston rapper Kay (whom he had also met through message boards and had put on a track on Here) and issued the album Time:Line. The second Foreign Exchange album, Leave It All Behind, came later in the year. One of its highlights, “Daykeeper,” was nominated for a Grammy, but not before the 2009 release of Nicolay’s own City Lights, Vol. 2: Shibuya.
Says one Carolina newbie to one Carolina native, “Dang! I knew it would be hot in the Summer down here, but I had no idea that it would get even hotter at night!!” Meteorologically speaking, there is a scientific explanation for this phenomenon. But as far as the Raleigh-based exploratory jazz trio called The Hot at Nights, there is no explanation for them. 8-string guitar virtuoso Chris Boerner leads the group, with Matt Douglas on sax/woodwinds and Nick Baglio on drums. The group melted together in Boerner’s studio over the many sweltering evenings of Summer, 2010. Though largely improvisational, the group’s compositions pull from contemporary songwriters, classic funk, pop, rock, and of course the electric avant garde stylings that have spanned the last 30 years of contemporary jazz. Complex rhythms can quickly transform into head-bobbing groove fare. Simple melodies coaxed by all three players can explode into cacophonous meteor showers at the drop of a dime. Their limits go as high as the stratosphere and deep into the Earth’s mantle. Both of which keep them sweating… even after the sun goes down.