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Piece on Alice Russell
, Manual 006 (Winter 2004-2005)


This piece on Alice Russell appeared in Manual 006 of the downtempo magazine RE:UP.

(You may also be interested in Christine's radio special, "Alice Russell Is the Spice of Life," from June 26, 2006.)

Article reprinted by permission from RE:UP


Alice Russell, Hurrying On to Solo Acclaim

By Christine Moritz

When Alice Russell's "Someday" appeared on Morcheeba's installment in the Back to Mine series in 2001, the band's beatmaster Paul Godfrey commented in the liner notes, "I know nothing about Alice Russell other than this song is the bomb."

Three and a half years later, the talented Russell has earned increasing recognition as a vocalist and songwriter for her collaborations with artists such as Quantic and TM Juke. In mid-2004, her full-length Under the Munka Moon came out on Tru Thoughts. The album's first single, the TM Juke-produced "Hurry On Now" (released this past January), is backed with a more dancefloor-friendly remix and the bonus track "Do It," produced by the Bristol project Unforscene.

Growing up in a musical family, Russell sang first in choirs and then in blues bands in her teens. Soon after she began singing and writing her own songs, influenced by vocalists including Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, and Minnie Riperton. In 1996 she started working with the Brazilian-flavored Bah Samba, who had heard her singing next door. (Following several singles, the Bah Samba full-length And It's Beautiful came out in 2002; even reviewers critical of the album as a whole praised Russell's "sublimely soulful voice" and "undeniably lovely vocals.")

Russell then worked with Kushti, a more hip-hop/soul-oriented project where she eventually caught the attention of the Tru Thoughts crew, and label co-honcho Paul Jonas subsequently introduced her to Quantic. The two began collaborating, resulting in her singing two tracks on Quantic's Apricot Morning LP in 2002. Russell continued working with Quantic and his Soul Orchestra, and also sang two tracks on TM Juke's 2003 full-length Maps in the Wilderness. That partnership proved fruitful as well; TM Juke went on to produce "Hurry On Now" for Under the Munka Moon, and Russell asked him to co-write and produce her next album, slated for a September 2005 release.

With the exception of "Hurry On Now" and two other new tunes, Under the Munka Moon is more of a compilation of earlier Russell collaborations and remixes than a fully-conceived album per se. (Indeed, Russell describes it as a "best-of.") Nonetheless, it is a strong showcase for her soulful, bluesy vocals, and gathers together a selection of her Tru Thoughts catalog (including some previously vinyl-only remixes) with a number of tracks from her earlier work with Kushti (including two songs co-produced by Plaid), Natureboy, and Bah Samba. For those already familiar with the more recent material, the Kushti tracks are the album's real standouts. Among them is "Someday," the track that caught Paul Godfrey's ear; listen and see why he deemed it "the bomb."


This page created May 2005 - Last modified May 10, 2005

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