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EL MICHELS AFFAIR MEETS LIAM BAILEY

El Michels Affair Meets Liam Bailey

Ekundayo Inversions (Instrumentals)

    By popular demand, we are proud to present Ekundayo Inversions (Instrumentals).

    Liam Bailey released his debut album Ekundayo on the label at the end of 2020, then in the Summer of 2021 El Michels Affair took the tapes from that and did a dub version of the album in his own style aptly titled Ekundayo Inversions. Both of these releases quickly became cult classics in their own right. The chemistry between Liam and producer Leon Michels is undeniable, each pushing the other to new places in their sounds. Here we take the vocals out of the mix and focus on the production and the players pulling instrumentals versions from both the Ekundayo album and the Ekundayo Inversions album.

    This is a limited one time pressing of 1000 pieces.

    TRACK LISTING

    Side A
    Conquer & Divide (Instrumental)
    She Hates This Life (Instrumental)
    Angel Dust (Instrumental)
    Don’t Blame Ny (Instrumental)
    Cold & Clear (Instrumental)
    White Light (Instrumental)
    Side B
    Ugly Truth (Instrumental)
    Angel Face (Instrumental)
    Walk With Me (Instrumental)
    King (Instrumental)
    Where Do I Start? (Instrumental)
    Faded (Instrumental)
    Awkward (Take 2) (Instrumental)

    There has always been a Reggae in­uence in the music of El Michels Affair. From their cover of “Hung Up On My Baby” done in a Reggae style, to the general sound and approach that permeates Leon’s production style. While recording Bailey’s 2020 Ekundayo album, they did some straight forward reggae tunes inspired by different eras alongside some modern R&B tracks that would sit more comfortably next to Frank Ocean than Jacob Miller. It is this same notion that old and new can live so comfortably together that birthed the idea of Ekundayo Inversions.

    Traditional dub came out of reggae in the late 60s and early 70s when pioneers like King Tubby and Lee Perry started taking the multi track recordings of songs and running them back through the board adding effects and additional instrumentation. These recordings are called “dubs” or “versions” and are typically instrumentals with ­ourishes of vocals from the original tracks.

    El Michels decided to use the blueprints left behind and make something using the in­uences of today. He wound up straying so far from the traditional format that it didn’t seem right to use the word ‘Dub’, hence Ekundayo Inversions. All the songs are tied together by WhatsApp messages between Leon and Liam that perfectly narrate the story of this record and their working relationship.

    One of the highlights on Ekundayo Inversions is a guest appearance from the legendary Lee “Scratch” Perry on the “Ugly Truth” version. L$P switches between singing and talking, proclaiming his powers one minute and playing with the track’s title the next. On “Awkward take. 2” Leon takes one of the most experimental songs from Ekundayo and actually straightens it out. A track that once seemed to be ­oating in space has now been anchored by the addition of drums and bass. “Faded”, a version of “Paper Tiger”, is given the full EMA treatment with the addition of emotive horns over an uncomfortably sparse rhythm track peppered with Liam’s voice drenched in delay and echo.

    “Champions” features a verse from Black Thought of The Roots and halfway through, El Michels sends the rhythm section 50 years back. At the end of the day, Ekundayo Inversions is a testament to how strong the original songs are. Whether they’re in a R&B style, reggae style, stripped down to their bare bones, or loaded with production, the songs will move you.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: What a truly stunning set of songs this is, swimming in dubby atmospherics while still retaining the groove and soul of the originals. Some of the pieces are a little bit more in the downbeat realm, before we get the smooth as silk R&B and dubby cuts that bring things back to the (decidedly relaxed) dancefloor. A superb selection of versions, perfectly at home with the orignals, while remaining resolutely distinct from them.

    TRACK LISTING

    SIDE A:
    1. Conquer & Divide
    Feat. Black Thought
    2. Amazing Woman
    3. Angel Face
    4. Walk With Me
    5. No One Else
    6. King

    SIDE B:
    1. Ugly Truths Feat. Lee Scratch Perry
    2. I Love NY
    3. Superstar
    4. Awkward (Take 2)
    5. Lucky Man
    6. Faded


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