MJ Cole has released his first album in 17 years and it likely isn’t how people who grew up with him would expect it to sound. He has released MJ Cole Presents Madrugada -- a lush and beautiful ambient album that couldn’t have come at a better time.
At 45 minutes, the record feels short as songs flow gently from one to the next. Some are soaring hopeful string-led tracks and others more subdued piano ballads that tug on the heartstrings. MJ Cole may be known for other areas of dance music, but he crushes this record.
This may seem like an abrupt shift for Cole, but it is something that has been a long time coming.
"I've made hundreds of records and had albums out before, but this record has always been brewing in the background. It's been gestating my whole life—but the execution of it has been very quick,” Cole says in a statement.
"I really feel like a new artist. This isn't just me sitting down at the piano and writing something nice and ambient, I'm coming at it as a hardcore manipulator of sounds. You can hear my breath, you can hear the pedal, you can hear the piano as a living instrument."
Listen to the album below, pick up a copy and watch a short film about the project as well.