Friday, November 26, 2010

Enter the 37th Chamber by El Michels Affair

Why has no-one shown me this band: El Michels Affair before? A whole album doing instrumental covers of Wu-Tang?

Led by saxophonist/organist Leon Michels and producer/engineer Jeff Silverman, El Michels Affair began as a loose collaboration of session musicians (including members of top-selling acts the Dap Kings & Antibalas) that looked to blend some of the vibrant quality of soundtrack records with the recording aesthetic of early reggae, and the rawness of 60’s rock–they called it ‘Cinematic Soul.’

The buzz generated from the album led to an invitation by Toyota’s Scion division for El Michels Affair to accompany the rapper Raekwon of Wu-Tang Clan for a promotional concert. As avid Wu-Tang fans, not only were the band leaders thrilled with the opportunity, but Michels found that the ‘Cinematic Soul’ sound was consistent with the moods of RZA’s gritty soundscapes on the classic Wu-Tang releases. The concert was such as success, El Michels Affair went on to play several more concerts nationwide backing Raekwon and other members of the Clan, and the shows led to the recording of two smash 7” singles featuring instrumental reinterpretations of the Wu-Tang classic songs “C.R.E.A.M.” and “Bring Da Ruckus.” The singles combined to sell an extraordinary amount of over 7,000 units worldwide, and their success led to a contract in 2007 with indie hip-hop powerhouse Fat Beats Records to record an entire album of Wu-Tang Clan interpolations entitled Enter the 37th Chamber.