Alice Russell - Under the Munka Moon 2
Alice Russell - Under the Munka Moon 2
(CD) Tru Thoughts TRU106, 2006-08-04
The first Alice Russell "album", "Under The Munka Moon", had kinda disappointed us with one third of the tracks extracted from Quantic or Quantic Soul Orchestra's albums. Fantastic records we had all bought on vinyl already, that we must admit. But we were expecting a real album... as in "70's concept album" for example! Why so high expectations? Because Alice Russell is simply one of the most exceptionnaly talented soul vocalists to emerge in this new century. So we weren't just waiting for a casual collection of tracks, no, no, no. When the anger passed, we were oh so thrilled to discover a few gems, like a fantastic "Sweet Is The Air feat. Natureboy". THEN "My Favourite Letters" was released, a real "album", entirely produced by collegue TM Juke. Whoa!! It hit us like a hurricane. "Humankind", "Mean To Me", "A Fly In The Hand" became instant Brighton Soul classics. Alice Russell wasn't only a featured vocalist for Unforscene, Bah Samba or the Quantic Soul Orchestra no more. In France, the word of mouth spread like fire and soon everybody around started talking about this new incredible singer.
When receiving this new collection of rare or unreleased tracks, we remembered our previous mistake and weren't eagerly waiting for a new "album", but instead for some new SUPA-COOL tracks, version and remixes. And we were not disappointed at all. Publishing some announcement on top of our fansite Tru-Thoughts.net, we started receiving, mails & phone calls from friends, who wanted a copy of the pre-release CD, at any cost. We started getting lots of new "friends" on p2p music communities and such... Some kind of pressure could be felt in the air, with phases like "but I can' wait for the 4th of August!", "please I promise I won't copy it to anyone" and more "I need it", "You have to trust me", etc. So what's the deal? 2 tracks already appeared as b-sides on some 12 inches, but one of them is the splendid acoustic version of "Mean To Me", one we just can't get enough of, as Depeche Mode would have said. Another one was on Nostalgia 77's first album, "The Garden", but it's the incredible cover of The White Stripes, "Seven Nation Army", another track we've been doing our Depeche Mode on ever since its initial release. The rest is 11 new tracks (or really rare in France), remixes or live versions... That's one of the reasons you won't find anyone complaining this time (because of tracks they'd already own). The other is that the CD flows like a real "album", nearly flawless, even though it assembles a large variety of styles (soul, jazz, funk, hip hop, reggae, broken beat...) and guests (Nostalgia 77, Natural Self, DJ Vadim, Bonobo, Bugz In The Attic...). Nearly half the tracks are or should have been "hit singles". That's not bad for a CD compilation.
The only thing we could regret is the legal bullshit in the booklet, "buying music legally is likely to increase your enjoyment of it" and such... So if you copied or feely downloaded this album, remember either to buy a concert ticket next time Alice Russell is in town, or to buy her record when you need to find a present for a close friend... you lousy music-lover thief you!
01. I Love You More than You'll Ever Know One take version
02. I'm Just Here Wyndham Earl Remix
03. To Know This Live Version
04. Hurry On Now Boub Remix
05. Don't You Worry
06. Seven Nation Army Featuring Nostalgia 77
07. I Don't Need This Trouble Featuring Natural Self
08. A Fly In The Hand DJ Vadim mix
09. Do It Featuring Unforscene
10. Mirror Mirror on the Wolf 'Tell the Story Right' Bonobo Mix
11. Mean to Me Acoustic version
12. Could Heaven Ever Be Like This Bugz in the Attic Mix
13. To Know This Nu:Tone Mix
Press Release :
After the enormous success of "My Favorite Letters", Alice Russell returns with a second collection of collaborations, remixes and alternate takes.
Already established as a gifetd vocalist and songwriter in her own right, the 13 tracks chosen for "Under The Munka Moon 2" serve as a testament, not only to the breadth of Alice's appeal, but also to her versality as an artist.
From soul to jazz, from folk to funk, downbeat to broken beat, hip hop to reggae and even soaking up a little drum & bass energy for good measure, Alice switches genres with natural grace and style, aided by her musical co-conspirators.
Highlights include a certified future classic from the hugely popular Bugz In The Attic, who transform "Could Heaven Ever Be Like This" by Japanses electronica don Susumu Yokota into a funky broken beat number, perfect for those long summer nights.
The Boub remix of "Hurry On Now" (a favourite from the first "Under The Munka Moon" compilation) twists the original into a head-nodding, hip-swinging 80s inspired reggae number, complete with pulsing bassline, carnivalesque keys and those inimitable vintage electro-tom drum sounds.
Other remixes include an infectious, jazzy drum " bass roller courtesy of Nu:Tone, DJ Vadim's acclaimed hip hop re-rub of "A Fly In The Hand" and laid-back, soulful gems courtesy of Bonobo and Wyndham Earl.
Nostalgia 77's incendiary cover of "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes makes a welcome appearance alongside collaborations with Unforscene, Natural Self and TM Juke.
The album is also peppered with exclusive stripped-down live tracks, which breathe new life into Alice's own back catalogue. In particular, an acoustic "Mean To Me" forgoes the horns and electronic glitz of the studio version for a seductive vaudevillian folk feel, perfectly tailored for the intimacy of smoky music-hall backrooms or twilight gypsy campfires.
For all its glorious eclectism, ":Under The Munka Moon" has a distinct sense of purpose and coherence that all compilations strive for but rarely ever achieve. The key to this is Alice herself - whose breathtaking voice weaves the divergent styles and sounds of her collaborators together to produce an essential album for newcomers and longtime fans alike.
Complete Artwork :