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Jorge Velez - Roman Birds Music Album Reviews

Inspired by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, this five-track ambient wonder finds the New York producer letting pulses and motifs overlap until the tracks resemble the inside of a lava lamp.
Jorge Velez has long been prolific, but that’s been especially true in the past few years. Like many underground electronic musicians, the New York producer has taken advantage of the internet’s self-publishing opportunities—in particular, the direct-to-fans platform Bandcamp—to sidestep label gatekeepers, streaming services, and crowded retailers. (Velez’s Bandcamp page currently numbers 26 releases.) Velez first gained recognition a dozen years ago with blippy disco derivatives for labels like Italians Do It Better, but his output has gradually become more esoteric and inward-looking. He’s still capable of ebullient club tracks, as last year’s excellent Forza attests, but many of his long, undulating machine jams sound like late-night missives to himself.



2018 Nissan 370Z Review

2018 Nissan 370Z Review
The 2018 Nissan 370Z is a confident coupe or roadster with an impressive pedigree and a recognizable shape. It's comparatively aged, but an instant classic for most owners.

The 2018 Nissan 370Z is a pure two-seater sports car without room for interpretation. Have you seen that cockpit?

That’s just fine by us, we prefer fun when it’s unfettered by logic.

This year the venerable Z returns with a very mild makeover—new lights, rear bumper, and wheels—and a look-at-me yellow Heritage Edition option for base coupes. Above base, the coupe is offered in Sport, Touring, and Sport Tech trims. Convertibles are offered in base, Touring, and Touring Sport trims. The Nismo trim stands alone as the performance pick of the bunch.

Review continues belowWe give the range a 6.2 overall with an asterisk. There are better sports cars on the market, and the 370Z won’t live on forever. We appreciate it while it’s here and know we’ll miss when it’s gone.

Nissan makes the Z available in coupe, convertible, and performance Nismo variants. All are powered by a 3.7-liter V-6 that makes at least 332 horsepower (350 hp in Nismo editions) and is mated to a sharp 6-speed manual or optional 7-speed automatic.

Our pick is the manual because of course it is. Any trim with the word “Sport” in it—or Nismo—gets a rev-matching system that’s thrilling for any driver who’s not looking to heel-toe their way to the stores.

Nissan has done its best to temper the aging and coarse V-6 that it’s used in the 370Z for years now, but tire drone and slightly unnerving tones still make their way into the cabin.

This year’s news is a bright yellow model that adds yellow interior accents, but it’s frustratingly limited to base coupes that don’t offer a touchscreen, rearview camera, or noise cancellation technology to quell the engine noise.

The 370Z lacks advanced safety tech to bring it into this decade, which won’t concern many shoppers, but it also comes up short on some creature comforts too.

The 2018 Nissan 370Z is only slightly different than last year’s model—we struggle to see the differences. Why mess with a good thing, though?

The 2018 Nissan 370Z gets mild styling updates this year that give us hope that the two-seater will have life beyond just this year.

It’s as mild as Wisconsin salsa; new headlights, taillights, a lower rear bumper, and new wheels were changed up.

In all, the iconic shape is still good in our eyes, enough for two points above average. The 370Z’s interior can be eye-catching in new yellow shades, so we advise caution on too much of a good thing.

The coupe, convertible, and Nismo models are share the same basic proportions, albeit with subtle differences.

Among the three, we like the coupe best for its simplicity and natural proportions for a sports car. The convertible may look a little more aggressive with its top down, but it’s shed the awkwardness found in the 350Z roadster that we didn’t much care for. The Nismo models have dropped their boy-racer bits in favor of a toned-down approach, and it’s largely for the best. Only small lashes of red accents set those models apart from the coupe.

The cabins of all 370Zs are rather similar, with simple but pleasing designs and a functional, purpose-oriented theme. Materials and styling are greatly upgraded from previous-generation Z cars, but the upper end of the Z's range is restricted in its plushness to leave space for Nissan's premium-brand coupe, the Infiniti Q60.

The 2018 Nissan 370Z takes a tried-and-true sports car formula and largely succeeds. With enough power on tap and a manual transmission, we’d be hard-pressed not to have fun.

Small improvements to the 2018 Nissan 370Z help keep the two-seater relevant among its competitors. It’s an enjoyable car to drive on sprints, and the rev-matching 6-speed manual is among the tops for its response and action.

We give the Z points above average for both, which is how we land on 7 out of 10 for performance.

Under the hood, the Nissan 370Z hasn’t changed much from last year. It’s still powered by a 3.7-liter V-6 in all trims, but the output changes slightly depending on model.

Coupes and convertibles make 332 horsepower from their powerplants, delivered in predictable and repeatable ways. That engine is paired to a 6-speed manual as standard or an optional 7-speed automatic.

Most coupes tip the scales around 3,400 pounds, convertible models add roughly 100 pounds for extra stiffening and a folding roof.

The manual is our pick for fun, based on its short throws and perky attitude when paired with a rev-matching system found on Sport, Sport Tech, Touring Sport, and Nismo models.

Behind the wheel, drivers may be wanting for more communication from the steering wheel. It’s not as sharp as other systems and lacks some of the engagement that other sports cars have.

Ride quality would take a backseat in the 370Z—if it had one. The 18-inch tires have more sidewall than the rest of the lineup, but 19-inchers are your only option on Sport and Nismo trims and somewhat spoil the ride.

Most 370Z coupes and convertibles will be fitted with active noise cancellation systems that replace some of the engine’s less-desirable notes with other sounds that aren’t as unnerving. Overall, the 370Z succeeds at its mission of being a driver-first sports car, especially considering its price.

Sport trims add a limited-slip differential that adds to the experience, with plenty of tail-wagging possibilities for enthusiastic owners.

Nismo models up the horsepower from 332 to 350 hp and keep the limited-slip differential in back. Specialized suspension tuning keeps those cars harder and more responsive than other models, perfect for track-day warriors.

Comfort & Quality
As a two-seater sports car, the 370Z won’t deliver the comfort of many other cars on the road. That’s good and bad, according to us.

The 2018 Nissan 370Z asks for a few concessions for its performance. Namely, the coupe and convertible are two-seat affairs, without much room for cargo.

Starting from a base of 5, we give points to the 370Z for good, supportive front seats but take it back for a small 6.9 cubic feet of cargo space (4.2 cubes in roadster models). It earns an average score for comfort.

The low-slung sports cars have comfortable front seats for a wide range of body types, and include heated and cooled features on higher trim levels. The padding is relatively good, although considering the big tires and confident handling setup, long-distance drivers will find smooth stretches of pavement out of habit.
Base coupes and convertibles make do with cloth seats, but pricier versions sub in leather, complemented by durable switches and buttons that punch above the 370Z’s price point.

A power-retractable soft top is equipped on roadster models that quickly opens and closes, but lets in a measurable amount of road noise even when up.

Wider rear tires on Sport, Touring, Sport Tech, and Touring Sport relay quite a bit of noise into the cabin and base models don’t have an active noise cancellation system that quiets some of the harsher noises coming from the V-6. While we concede that many performance buyers are looking for some engine growl to make its way into the cabins of their cars, the older engine in the 370Z doesn’t make all the right noises sometimes.

The 2018 Nissan 370Z lacks official crash data and a standard rearview camera.

Like many other sports cars on the market, the 2018 Nissan 370Z doesn’t have a full record of crash tests.

We don’t expect that will change anytime soon, which means that we’re withholding our score until more data arrives. We’re not sure that’ll happen in this generation either.

The 370Z comes equipped with four airbags: two front and two side-curtain. Active head restraints, and pre-tensioning seatbelts are standard too.

Outward vision is mostly good, however coupes have thick rear pillars that can block vision in blind spots. The 370Z doesn’t offer any blind-spot monitors on any models. A rearview camera is standard on models with a touchscreen, which include Touring, Sport Tech, Touring Sport, and Nismo models.

No advanced safety options are available, a testament to the 370Z’s relative age

The 2018 Nissan 370Z comes in a long list of trims, but very few options are available outside of those trim levels.

The 2018 Nissan 370Z is offered in a surprising number of configurations, but with few options for each. Offered as a coupe or convertible, with or without Nismo touches.

We give the Z a point on our features scale thanks to good base features, but take it right back for the lack of an infotainment screen on base models, which most competitors offer.

Coupes can be ordered in base, Touring, Sport, and Sport Tech trims. Convertible models shake it up to base, Touring, and Touring Sport. Nismo models are one-size fits all—what you see is what you get.

Regardless of roof configuration, all 370Z sports cars are equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, keyless ignition, a six-speaker stereo, 18-inch wheels, and all that wonderful sheet metal.

Touring trims add luxury touches such as power adjustable heated and cooled leather seats, Bose audio, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera, and active noise cancellation that helps quiet some of the 370Z’s more agrarian-sounding tendencies.

Sport and Sport Tech models add newly available 19-inch wheels, bigger brakes, a limited-slip rear differential, and better tires. Sport trims lose the touchscreen found in Touring editions, but Sport Tech trims put it right back where they found it.

Nismo models mirror Sport Tech trims in their feature set.

We’re a little perplexed on one point, however. The great-looking Heritage Edition model is only available as a base coupe, says Nissan. That removes common-sense features such as a rearview camera or power adjustable seats.

Like last year, Nissan offers very few options for the 370Z. In fact, some models don’t offer any options at all outside of paint colors and dealer-installed add-ons.

Fuel Economy
The Nissan 370Z manages combined fuel economy around 20 mpg in most configurations.

Most of what makes cars like the 2018 Nissan 370Z appealing is counterproductive to efficiency. Transmuting fuel and rubber into vapor are their first priorities.

Among sports cars, the Nissan Z isn’t all that fuel efficient. The EPA rates most models with a manual transmission around 20 mpg combined.

The manual-equipped coupes are rated at 18 mpg city, 26 highway, 21 combined, according to the EPA. Convertibles dip slightly to 17/24/20 mpg.

When fitted to a 7-speed automatic, the 370Z coupe returns 19/26/22 mpg; convertibles are rated at 18/25/21 mpg.

By comparison, the most efficient Ford Mustangs tiptoe toward 30 mpg highway when equipped with a turbo-4.

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