MJ Cole drops his anticipated new album alongside a stunning documentary by Henry Dean

“Spanish Noun: madrugada, the period between midnight and sunrise; early morning
Synonym: madruga (slang) (figuratively) dawn (the first stages of a process)”

Unveiling his first album in 17 years, electronic music pioneer MJ Cole has returned to his classical roots. While back in the day Cole won a scholarship to City of London School while also attending the Royal College of Music junior department for his exceptional piano skills, most will know him from collaborating with artists such as Stormzy, AJ Tracey, Freya Ridings, or his garage club classic Sincere. Released by Decca Records, MJ Cole presents Madrugada responds to the magical stretch between midnight and sunrise. It is a tender, modest and deceptively powerful 12 track work comprised of gentle piano and occasional flourishes from a 14-piece orchestra. “I’ve made hundreds of records and had albums out before,” notes Cole, “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. 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. It’s all about expression. When I play the piano I go into a meditative state, other thoughts don’t come into my head.”

Partnering with the exceptional filmmaker Henry Dean, a 16-minute documentary shot in Kiev has been created to tell the visual story of the album, exploring isolation and integration through the lives of a surfer, farmer, young mother, couple, raver and more.  

Recommended viewing and listening for lockdown, check out its premiere below –