Richard Russell: Everything Is Recorded – dragged down by too many star guests

Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 11:32


Everything is Recorded

Everything is Recorded

XL Recordings


Although he may be best known as co-founder of renowned independent label XL Recordings and the man who discovered Adele, Richard Russell has a background in making music, too.

Here, he draws on his presumably formidable contacts list as he returns to that guise under the Everything Is Recorded moniker – but perhaps it’s the bountiful collaborators who prevent his debut album from finding its focus.

From saxophonist Kamasi Washington to London rapper Giggs and French duo Ibeyi, these songs largely feature minimalist production, snippets of vocal samples (one from a Curtis Mayfield track) and an oddly disembodied, unfocused feeling that’s hard to shake.

The vaguely reggae-meets-dubstep vibe of Mountains of Gold sounds like three different songs wilfully compacted into one, and the skeletal Bloodshot Red Eyes, featuring Scritti Politti’s Green Gartside on keyboards, is strangely heartless.

The trip-hop-leaning Show Love – a slick, soulful and infinitely more cohesive affair featuring Odd Future/The Internet collaborator Syd – is undoubtedly the best song, while the jumbled clutter of the title track, featuring electro-soul vocalist Sampha, is just about salvageable.

There are plenty of rich ideas here, but they’re still sketches, waiting to be fully realised.