Ears Wide Open: Nick Valentini Collective

Nick Valentini
Nick Valentini

Nick Valentini is a singer-songwriter who studied cognitive science (isn’t everything?) at UCLA, joined up with some talented college pals to form the Nick Valentini Collective a year and a half ago and has likened his songwriting to solving a jigsaw puzzle. About 31 minutes of those puzzles pieces comprise the vibrant soundscape on the octet’s debut EP, “No Time for Today,” released in November. The project, in which the singer-keyboardist is joined by Erik Shibowski (bass), Hugo Shibowski (saxophone), Nate Schwartz (guitar), Nicolo Scolieri (flute), Gabriel Wheaton (strings), Tyler Wennstrom (keyboard/percussion) and Nick Velez (drums), is “inspired by the beauty of experimentation and the eagerness to explore endless possibilities through voice and music,” Valentini says. His shape-shifting compositions also have inspired people to use a lot of hyphenates — jazz-fusion, psych-soul, indie-rock, orchestral-pop — and conjure up that double-edged sword of comparisons, Radiohead. If you can’t connect the dots sonically, there are Valentini’s lovestruck, despairing lyrics. “We’re always on a different side of a lover’s carousel,” he sings in “Carousel,” and if your tastes matriculate beyond music that just goes round and round, you might want to behold Valentini puzzles.

||| Stream: “Carousel” and “Mr. Mister”

||| Also: Watch the videos for “No Time for Today” and “Worms”