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  • Release Date 2015-09-14
  • Label Manual Music
  • Catalog MANCD014
A few times a year an artist album comes along which touches the hearts and minds of electronic music lovers. Where traditional genre barriers are broken and a captivating journey unfolds, where followers of different stylistic blueprints unite in a celebration of sound. 'Kobalt' by Noraj Cue is one such album. The Dutch producer has been experimenting with electronic music for over twenty years, and his ongoing relationship with Paul Hazendonk's Manual Music has allowed his creativity to flourish. On 'Kobalt' Noraj has effortlessly cast the genre barriers aside and crafted a timeless epic which will captivate audiences on a global scale.

It's a tale told over 15 acts which encompass touching melodies, warm harmonies, unique rhythmic structures and a bevy of poignant moments, all wrapped up in a techno state of mind. The album commences with the soothing waves of 'The End Of The Beginning'. It's broken beats, warm swells and meandering melancholia cast a musical tone. There's a hopeful vibe locked in here and one which gets the journey off to a pleasing start. As with many productions the title holds a special meaning to Noraj who reflects "It's the start of a new me. Of something I've never done before, making a debut album where I show my purest self, without feeling bound by some sort of style. But just make music and let the outcome be."

It more than whet's the appetite for 'Earth In Decay', which is a showcase of Noraj's precise craftsmanship. A storyboard of unpredictable keys is a delight with each and every listen, and the minimalistic yet bouncy groove brings it straight to a contemporary dance floor. It's a piece Noraj relates to the world we live in, stating "We tend to celebrate achievements but really, all we do is steal ground from original habitants. It's break and hate instead of love and create, all in an unstoppable, blind rush till the end. It's not only about nature. It's about human behavior where people seem to copy each other instead of being unique and wonderful, by being pushed by some force, or just without notice and fail to understand."

The quirky design qualities shine on 'Blossom' and 'Vervreemd', both of which find Noraj crafting downtempo pieces filled with cerebral messages and tightly programmed beats. These three minute shifts set the stage for 'Forever Brothers', an eight minute plus opus with childhood motifs and one of the albums most heartfelt themes. 'The title says it all' Noraj explains "Morris my oldest son was 2, when Ferron, my youngest son was born. I decided to record them along with myself and my wife Anoek, on a long, cozy rainy day. It's a piece of music which shows my love for the little family and the appreciation of the life I live in this moment. The higher twinkling synths you hear further in the track represent stars, for our first stillborn child and other family members who have passed away, all of which had a profound effect on our lives"

'Universal Love' (which accompanied the LP's first single 'Krankenhouse') confirms Noraj's unique understanding of melody. It's eloquent themes are immediately compelling and capture a timeless elegance not easily conveyed through electronics. You could describe these composi



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