London based label XL Recordings has always had an interesting roster, and always seems to be pushing the boundaries with the music they put out across several different genres. This is in part down to its owner; label executive and music producer Richard Russell.
A fine example of his skills is how; after helping to produce Gil Scott-Heron’s final album before his death ‘I’m New Here’, he then oversaw the rework of the album by Jamie XX – ‘We’re New Here’, which was widely well received when released in 2013. The self-titled debut album ‘Everything Is Recorded’ is by Richard Russell – performing and producing under the Everything is Recorded moniker.
‘Everything Is Recorded’ is not your typical album. Whilst Russell provides instrumentals; playing synth guitar and bass amongst other things, his voice doesn’t seem to appear on the album, instead choosing to have the wealth of talent around him sing and rap for him in a star studded compilation album (one of the perks of being a label owner with good musical connections) – in a tightly weaved blend of grime, soul, R&B, and electronic genres.
Whilst the LP isn’t limited to one particular genre, it does seem to follow to follow a trend of being generally down tempo – all though that is not to say that the album is not uplifting. Performances by the likes of relative newcomer Infinite; whose sultry voice positively glows on ‘Be My Friend’ and on several other tracks on the album too, are at the forefront of the low-key positivity of the album.
Arguably the most eye-catching collaboration on the album (from just a glance at the track list) is a collaboration between the lead singer of The Internet (and Odd Future Alumni) Syd, and the Mercury Music Prize-winning Sampha. The pair feature on the track ‘Show Love’, and with both artists being well known for impressive singing range and soulfulness, it doesn’t disappoint.
Other very impressive tracks on the album include ‘Bloodshot Red Eyes’ (featuring Infinite and Green Gartside), ‘Mountains of Gold’ (featuring Ibeyi, Kamasi Washington, Sampha and Wiki), and also ‘Wet looking road’ featuring an appearance by grime legend Giggs.
Overall, ‘Everything Is Recorded’ is a successful debut – however as impressive and clean as it sounds you can’t help but feel that this collaborative effort is a warm up project; Russell definitely seems to be holding some things back, perhaps testing the waters with this project before heading in a certain musical direction. Whatever that direction may be in the future, it will surely make for interesting listening based upon this project.
‘Everything Is Recorded’ is out now, via XL Recordings. The albums full track list is…
2. Close but Not Quite (Featuring Sampha)
3. She Said (Featuring Kamasi Washington And Obongjayar)
4. Wet Looking Road (Featuring Giggs)
5. Mountains of Gold (Featuring Ibeyi, Kamasi Washington, Sampha and Wiki)
6. Show Love (Featuring Sampha and Syd)
7. Echoes In The Bone – Interlude (Featuring Rachel Zeffira)
8. Bloodshot Red Eyes (Featuring Green Gartside and Infinite)
9. Cane (Featuring Ibeyi)
10. Purify – Interlude (featuring Infinite and Peter Gabriel)
11. Be My Friend (Featuring Infinite)
12. Everything Is Recorded (Featuring Sampha)