There's a moment on Mountains of Gold, the first single from the debut album from XL label boss Richard Russell, that shouldn't make any sense.

Over a stuttering piano loop, blues-inspired thuds, and a head-spinning Kamasi Washington solo, Sampha weaves himself a world of pain, helped along the way by Ibeyi's spooky spoken-word stories.

Suddenly, snotty-nosed rapper Wiki busts into the room, sneering his Brooklyn snarl all over a track that didn't really seem to be calling out for him to join in at all.

Here's the kicker: it works. In fact, like much of Everything Is Recorded's mishmash of artists and styles, it works wonderfully, elevating something that could have been obvious into a moment that truly sounds unlike anything else around.

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Those moments don't happen as much as they could on Everything Recorded, but they happen enough to keep things constantly interesting.

Try Sampha and Syd wrapping their vocals around each other on Show Love, a meeting of the minds if ever there was one. Giggs wraps his hardened battle flow around Wet Looking Road, a song that has far less bass than he's used to, and the slow trot of Be My Friend reminds of We're New Here, that excellent Gil Scott-Heron remix album Jamie xx released a few years back. You'll want to stick around for the warped ending of Cane, another example of Ibeyi's class.

This could have been a chance for Russell to show off his roster of uber-cool artists. Instead, it's a masterful collection of late-night mood pieces, full of moments to trainspot with your friends.

Everything is Recorded is Richard Russell's debut, a collection of XL roster artists that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Everything is Recorded is Richard Russell's debut, a collection of XL roster artists that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Everything is Recorded - Richard Russell

Label:

XL

Stars:

Four

Verdict:

Tastemaker's debut makes the most out of its guests