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March 12, 2018 | by  | in Arts Music | [ssba]

Everything is Recorded

Everything is Recorded is the brainchild of Richard Russell, the owner of XL Recordings in the UK. Over the years, XL have produced massive records by the likes of FKA twigs, Gil Scott-Heron, The xx, Vampire Weekend, Radiohead, King Krule, and Adele’s 19, 21, and 25. Not a bad track record at all.

Naturally, Russell has built an array of networks with some of the most talented indie musicians associated with his label, and Everything is Recorded finds a home for many of them. The list of contributors features man-of-the-moment Sampha, Syd, Kamasi Washington, Peter Gabriel, Ibeyi, Wiki, and Giggs – to name but a few. Sampha is the heart and soul of the record, as his vocals pop up on a third of the tracks here. Sonically, Everything is Recorded does fit the mould of Sampha’s Process, in that it channels Sampha’s stellar tenor to navigate quirky and idiosyncratic melody throughout these songs.

In terms of a general sonic palette, Russell borrows from many styles of music, with the use of dub style rhythms and old soul samples being the most notable running themes across the album. Promo single “Mountains of Gold” sees the dub style utilised in tandem with Ibeyi’s jarring vocals, Wiki’s abrasive verse, and a rip-snorting Kamasi Washington solo. Sampha’s call-and-response hook is really the glue here, as the track jumps from style to style before returning to the welcome familiarity of a crisp melody.

The scope of this album is impressive. Russell taps into the individual ethos of each of his artists, and collates that into a cohesive project. Some tracks are certainly better than others – “Be My Friend” and the title track end the album with a brilliant one-two punch, which makes up for the slight lull in the middle third of the album.

A great project, which serves as a glowing appraisal of Russell’s ability to get the best out of his collaborators.

3.5/5

[ssba]

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