With XL Recordings, label head Richard Russell has played an important hand in the illustrious careers of Adele, Thom Yorke, Vampire Weekend, The XX, M.I.A, Ibeyi and others. Now, he steps to the production forefront on his debut EP as Everything Is Recorded. The title track, “Close But Not Quite” featuring Sampha, is an equally masterful display of Russell’s uncompromising guiding hand, as well as Sampha’s signature sensitivity on the mic.
In Matthew Trammell’s excellent profile of Russell and XL Recordings for The New Yorker, he tells of how Russell saw similarities in Sampha and the late Curtis Mayfield. Infusing Mayfield’s “The Makings of You” into “Close But Not Quite” illustrates a decades-traversing symbiosis between Mayfield and Sampha, and comes across like another brush stroke of genius for Russell, the man who applied similar magic on Jamie XX and Gil Scott-Heron’s 2011 revivalist masterpiece, We’re New Here.
Press play to hear “Close But Not Quite” below!