Everything Is Recorded – Everything Is Recorded by Richard Russell (2018)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 37:59 minutes | 764 MB | Genre: Electronic
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © XL Recordings
XL Recordings owner Richard Russell has run one of England’s most feted independent labels for nearly 30 years, so it’s unsurprising that the band he has put together, Everything is Recorded, is a star-studded affair. And tonight, performing in the round on a stage watched over by pixelated artwork of icons from Robert Johnson to the sphinx, an A-list of XL-backed rappers and singers is on hand to realise Russell’s forays into soul, jazz and hip-hop.
Mercury prizewinner Sampha opens proceedings with the emotive piano and plaintive tones of Close But Not Quite. The track is built around a brass-drenched Curtis Mayfield sample triggered by Russell, who sits unobtrusively behind a bank of kit in a corner throughout. As with much of the show, the track feels like a mature version of the sample-heavy rave music with which Russell started his career. Bass hooks from Grace Jones and vocal lines from Zapp are worked into soulful trip-hop and it’s clear that the bones are the same as they ever were: familiar riffs repurposed for inner-city London, classics re-sung for a new generation.
Tracks roll into each other, and Sampha is joined by French Cuban duo Ibeyi, delicate-voiced soul singer Infinite and Nigerian performance poet Obongjayar. The band fill the stage, evolving into a tightly drilled choir more in keeping with a gospel show than a traditional gig. They harmonise sweetly, with the occasional vocal pyrotechnic, Infinite’s soaring falsetto, or a collective a capella rendition of Be My Friend drawing gasps and cheers from the crowd.
This unity is only disturbed by the entrance of UK rap legend Giggs. A brooding star, he brings his own anti-gravity to proceedings and the stage clears for his turn, his presence demanding space. It’s the highlight of the show and a reminder that while the collective performance has been impressive, individual charisma is unbeatable. Sensibly, his appearance is left to the end, giving a natural peak to a show that has proved that Russell – with ample support – is as skilled at making records as he is releasing them.
02. Close But Not Quite
03. She Said
04. Wet Looking Road
05. Mountains of Gold
06. Show Love
07. Echoes in the Bone-Interlude
08. Bloodshot Red Eyes
11. Be My Friend
12. Everything Is Recorded