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Shibuya is the new project from the creative mind of NICOLAY, better known as one half of THE FOREIGN EXCHANGE. The group (which includes rapper/singer Phonte) and their sophomore album "Leave It All Behind," continues to gain momentum as the duo and their extended family of singers and musicians are currently touring the United States and Canada. Nicolay and Phonte's countless performances together have added a new level of sophistication to their musical output, resulting in what they consider to be one of their most ambitious projects yet.
The idea for Shibuya, the second installment in Nicolay's City Lights series, was conceived after Nicolay's first visit to Tokyo in November 2006. The experience proved to be life changing for Nicolay, who has studied Japanese culture for most of his adult life. "This amazing place and all of its sounds and colors immediately filled up my senses," he says. "I felt reinvigorated."
Once back home, he started to write and record music with a new-found sense of freedom, laying the groundwork for the albums "Time:Line" and "Leave It All Behind" as well a third album; a deeply personal homage to the Tokyo district of Shibuya that illustrates both the grandeur of Japan's age-old heritage ("Meiji Shrine, "Rain In Ueno Park", "The Inner Garden") as well as the hectic city life of one of the world's busiest metropolitan areas ("Crossing", "Satellite", "Bullet Train"). Where "City Lights Volume 1" was primarily instrumental, on Shibuya the instrumental pieces are book-ended by several vocal songs written by Phonte and performed by Durham, North Carolina vocalist CARLITTA DURAND, who previously collaborated with Phonte on LITTLE BROTHER's "Getback" album. Also appearing is Foreign Exchange liveband-mate ZO!, who adds his virtuoso keyboard solos to two songs.