Niko’s Electric Union is a late-night, electrasonic long player on ATIC Records. The all new third album from the Seattle born singer sees her pursuing a more focussed dance lounge sound where delicate melodies and accomplished song writing marry with tuff, unpolished beats, gritty synth bass and layers of abstract keyboards. Drawing from a pot of jazz, soul, underground house, breakbeat and electro pop, a lot of ground is covered by Electric Union’s nine songs with Niko lamenting a love lost in ‘You Used To Have Her’ over a heavy rave breakbeat before getting all Sade on the album’s title track. The only cover on the album is Niko’s lush take on the previously unreleased ‘I Love TV’ whose writers include Alex Miller of The Upper Room and Neil Barnes of Leftfield.
“I set out to make a record that made me want to dance in the club, chill in the lounge and go for a late-night cruise in the car, all at the same time. Also, I’ve always wanted to release an album on splatter vinyl so I’m happy I’ve ticked all of those boxes!” NikoElectric Union covers much sonic ground. ‘The Palace Discotheque’ paints an Italo-flecked portrait of the city after dark. In ‘You Used to Have Her’ Niko laments lost love over rave breakbeats before getting all Sade on the album’s blissed-out title track. The sole cover on the album is a lush reworking of ‘I Love TV’, a relatively obscure track Niko heard premiered on a late-night Don Letts radio session many moons ago and whose writers include Neil Barnes of Leftfield. As it happens, Electric Union nearly didn’t happen. In 2019 multiple accidents from roller-derby, falling off horses and standing on her head at yoga left Niko pretty much paralysed and it became apparent that neck and spine surgery was required. Niko was told to prepare for the fact that not only might she not walk again but she might never sing again. Thankfully the surgery was a complete success and after some well-earned rest and relaxation she got back to work.
Born in Seattle WA, Niko spent a chilled-out childhood watching The Fresh Prince, listening to jazz and 90’s power pop and singing in gospel choir. After high school she relocated to NYC on a music scholarship to study jazz at the prestigious New School of Music and The Thelonious Monk Institute, spending the next decade soaking up the sights and sounds of the city and discovering an affinity for deep house and electronic music along the way.
Her first original compositions were written and recorded for a PBS television documentary soundtrack, a demo copy of which found its way to Manchester, England where she signed to Grand Central Records and released her debut album Life on Earth. In 2005 she left GC to create ATIC Records with producer Aim (Cold Water Music, Hinterland) and the two continued to work closely together with Niko lending vocals to his Flight 602 and The Habit Of A Lifetime (And How To Kick It) LPs, whilst fronting and touring with the ten-piece Aim live band that smashed Glastonbury and sold out Shepherds Bush Empire.
Verdict: From the opening arpeggiated synth line and driving beat of ‘if I could be your love’, your riding a synth wave through the eclectic neon world of ‘Electric Union’. A wonderful collection of tracks with a playful 80s nostalgic influence. Nikos’ vocals work perfectly to lift the music to the next level, bringing a lush human element to the wonderful electronic soundscapes of infectious melodies and solid grooves. The feel good factor is off the scale, so much fun, it’s a sweet slice of escapism that gives you a yearning to get to the nearest dancefloor and lose yourself.
Electric Union was produced and mixed by Aim at his own Speed Limit Studios facility where he also made the brews and chipped in a bit here and there with song writing. “I loved working on this record. The initial production brief was to make it DJ-friendly and synth-heavy and as soon as I heard the first few songs I knew Niko was onto something. We spent the next two or three years holed up in the studio with no deadline to worry about, slowly but surely refining and chipping away until we were done.” Aim
1. If I Could Be Your Love
2. The Palace Discotheque
3. Someone To Lean On
4. I Love TV
1. Don’t Call On Me
2. You Used To Have Her
3. Electric Union
5. Those From The Heavens Come
OUT OCT 22nd Niko – Electric Union | ATIC Records