Analogue Foundation co-founder and Grammy award-winning engineer/producer Russell Elevado is renowned and celebrated for his continued use of analogue recording techniques to create and capture fresh, contemporary music that is rich with references to classic soul, funk and rock records from decades past. Each time, exclusively for the Analogue Foundation, Russell will be delving into his musical inspirations to curate a new installment in his Vinyl Selection series. Here’s the third installment, bringing you a unique perspective on classic tracks from Mahavishnu Orchestra to Public Enemy.
from the album : Birds Of Fire, 1973
John McLaughlin formed this band shortly after his time in Miles Davis' band when Miles shifted his music into an electric-fusion period (Bitches Brew, On the Corner, etc). Mahavishnu blended rock, jazz, funk, classical and Indian music with virtuoso players like Billy Cobham (drums), Jean Luc Ponty (electric violin) and Jan Hammer (keyboards). Mahavishnu Orchestra was one of the top Jazz fusion groups of the 70's and McLaughlin is considered by many of his contemporaries as one of the best in the world. This song is a tribute to Miles Davis and has a bluesy jazz/rock vibe. It's got a dynamic and powerful sound with explosive solos and the heavy drumming style of Billy Cobham.
How Do You Sleep?
from the album : Imagine, 1971
In this song, Lennon shows he's got a little funky side to him. And there's such a cool darkness to the vibe of this song. The lyrics were written in response to Paul McCartney's song called "Too many people" where Paul criticizes Lennon and Ono. A bit of rock star drama and controversy between Lennon and McCartney actually draws the fans closer to the music, trying to find hidden messages in the lyrics.. I love how the drums and bass sound, so raw and dirty. And listen to the haunting string arrangement done by legendary producer Phil Spector. An appearance by George Harrison who plays the killer slide guitar solo further adds to the greatness of this song.
Pigs (Three Different Ones)
from the album : Animals, 1971
Not as commercially successful as Dark Side Of the Moon but nonetheless a favorite among Pink Floyd fans. This song has David Gilmour (guitarist) using the "talkbox" which was a very popular effect in the 70's that mimics the sound of a your voice. The audio signal is sent through a tube which is placed in a persons mouth and the sound changes as you open and close your mouth to talk. You can hear him mimicking the sounds of a squealing pig in the solos. The entire album uses animals as analogies to human behavior. Pigs has a slow sort of funky groove with some tasty bluesy guitar playing by guitarist David Gilmour in combination with Roger Waters' lyrics and vocal delivery. I get a dark brooding feeling listening to this.
Sunshine Of Your Love
from the album : Songs, 1969
Rotary Connection was a psychedelic soul group from the late sixties. Their music was very experimental incorporating various styles of music. Minnie Riperton was part of this group before she started her solo career. Her signature high octaves can be heard in their songs. This a cover of Cream mega hit "Sunshine Of Your Love". But they blended some psychedelic soul and orchestration into their version. Certainly the lead vocal is singing in a more soul ballad style.
Roy Ayers Ubiquity
Everybody Loves The Sunshine
from the album : Everybody Loves The Sunshine, 1976
A soul classic. This song has such a cool groove. It's got a slow tempo with a super soulful, psychedelic and jazzy vibe. Probably one of his most well known songs. It's been sampled by many hip hop artists including Common and Mos Def. The Arp String Ensemble keyboard and Moog synthesizer are featured here and really add to the mood of the song. The lyrics are simple almost like a nursery rhyme but also like a simple poem.
Bring The Noise
from the album : It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back, 1988
Vinyl is the only way to listen to the Public Enemy albums. I don't get the same impact of the dense production on CD as i do with the vinyl. Such a masterpiece of hip hop production. Industrial sounds, multiple drum loops, drum machine beats and scratching all layered together to create a massive sound for Chuck D's unmistakeable voice. The production was handled by the Bomb Squad (Hank and Keith Shocklee, Chuck D, Eric Sadler, Gary G-Wiz and Bill Stephney) as on all the Public Enemy albums. This song has been sampled by many artists like Kanye West, De La Soul, The Beastie Boys and many more.
Sly and the Family Stone
Sing A Simple Song
from the album : Stand!, 1969
Sly Stone laid down some of the foundations of what is popular music today. He was able to fuse funk, soul, bebop, rock and pop so seamlessly. This song has such a driving groove, you would find it hard not to move some part of your body to the beat. This song has been covered and sampled by many famous artists like Miles Davis, The Jackson 5, 2pac, Public Enemy, Wu-Tang Clan and Cypress Hill to name a few. I was fortunate to have worked on this song from the original 8 track master reel for a Sly and the Family Stone tribute album. I was amazed to find that all the drums were mixed down to one track. And to hear the original individual tracks in their purest form (before final mixdown) was like looking into the past and seeing a Picasso masterpiece as a "work in progress".