Everything is Recorded – Friday Forever (UK import)

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Synchronized with the publication of his Liberation Through Hearing: Rap, Rave & the Rise of XL Recordings, Friday Forever is XL boss Richard Russell‘s second production LP under the Everything Is Recorded guise. The 2018 debut imparted a somewhat avant form of downtempo with singers, players, rappers, and samples — crossing generations and genres — all artfully woven into a contemplative statement. Friday Forever is similarly collaborative and collagist. Contrary to the title, dread is sensed around the clock, or at least the late evening through midday moments timestamped on the linear track titles. Stoic rapper Flohio (echoed by sampled Mikey Dread) is entirely in the moment when she affirms the chorus of “I Dont Want This Feeling to Stop,” and returning and recurrent vocalist Infinite Coles (joined later by father Ghostface Killah) rejoices about “fucking up a Friday night,” but even they seem aware that hell is ’round the corner. The pervading feeling is that of desperate defiance, escaping internal and external crises, if only for a few hours, through drink, other drugs, and instant sexual gratification. Summarizing it most succinctly is the verse from young Mancunian MC Aitch, bowing out with “Take a loss, blow a bag, make it back, that’s that.” That said, the most valuable co-star is singer/songwriter Maria Somerville. Her plaintive and enchanting voice appears at the beginning, in the middle, and toward the end, surrounding the graphic lyricism of her duet partners with wraith-like poeticisms. She’s most affecting in “That Sky,” a showcase for an affecting James Massiah narrative that relies on Sun Ra‘s sauntering “Moon Dance.” Certain songs become more fascinating after the layers are unpeeled, revealing facets that are complementary beyond sonic utility; in many cases, the titles of the sampled tracks fit into the storyline. The organ drone from Tangerine Dream‘s “Journey Through a Burning Brain” introduces “Pretending Nothings Wrong,” in which singer/songwriter Kean Kavanagh awakens drenched in firewater, tremulous and remorseful, and phones rapper Berwyn, who advises him to “stop mixing the drinks.” The hook that easily slides into place is not just any random Lamont Dozier admonishment, but the one from the Motown legend’s metaphorically titled “Take Off Your Make Up.” Russell must have had a ball piecing together the set, its constant waves of distress notwithstanding. Who else could conceive and see through a unified project sampling the Teadrop ExplodesMan Friday, and Smog, with appearances from members of Crass and Wu-Tang Clan? Mint.





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