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Album Feature: Richard Russell's 'Everything Is Recorded'

Album Feature: Richard Russell's 'Everything Is Recorded'

Paul Larsen / Wednesday 28th February, 2018 3:19PM

XL Recordings co-founder Richard Russell's new album features a star-studded lineup of guests including Kamasi Washington, Peter Gabriel, Sampha and more, Paul Larson takes a look at Russell's record Everything is Recorded...

As the head of XL Recordings, Richard Russell has an outstanding track record of picking talent of all ages and from across the music spectrum. From a young Adele and Dizzee Rascal to elder statesmen of popular music such as Radiohead, The White Stripes and Gil Scott-Heron, XL Recordings has always represented the vintage pick of alternative music.

Much like the array of talent the XL Recordings roster has accrued over the years, the man who has helmed the label since the its inception in 1989 is unbound by genre or style. Russell began his music career in the early nineties rave scene under the moniker Kicks Like A Mule and made a Top Of The Pops appearance before letting the music take a back seat, instead focussing on launching the career of his mate Liam Howlett’s fledgling band, The Prodigy. This breakthrough ensured XL’s enduring success and along with illness, has kept Russell from releasing his own music.

That is, until the release of this year’s collaboration record Everything is Recorded; a meticulously crafted collection of his own soul, jazz and hip hop creations, featuring an extensive array of support artists plucked (directly or indirectly) from the XL Recordings universe.

Collaboration records are famously fraught with pitfalls. The input from third parties are either too much, too little, or too disjointed from the project. Everything Is Recorded skirts this issue by maintaining two constant forces throughout the record; Russell’s mastery of the basic beat / synth platform which flows seamlessly throughout, and the recurring refrain of Texan preacher, TD Jakes whose mini-sermon on the intro track acts as the ostensive motif for the record.

Of the huge amount of contributors, some leave more of a footprint than others, such as Mercury Prize winner Sampha, whose honeyed vocals bring real feeling to some of the record’s stand out tracks, such as ‘Close But Not Quite’, ‘Show Love’ (which features stunning interplay with The Internet’s Syd) and ‘Everything Is Recorded’.

The smaller players are no lightweights however, with contributions from Kamasi Washington, Peter Gabriel, Wiki and Ibeyi. Although they each have varying levels of airtime, this diversity of talent is consistent with the record's approach towards creation, with a seemingly endless supply of samples and loops layered atop each other to create a natural formation of sound and texture.

Later track and highlight ‘Be My Friend’ exemplifies the concept well, with a shadowy drumbeat laid under the chris-crossing vocals of Infinite who also features on another of the records' highlights, ‘Bloodshot Red Eyes’. Even if the rapper hadn’t been born to greatness (Infinite is the son of Ghostface Killer), he’s definitely one to watch for the future!

Click here to find out where you can get your mits on the album and/or listen below. 


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