Friday, Aug 04 2006 | 15:31

Alice Russell is hugely in demand as a vocalist and has gained an enviable reputation as one of the hottest singers in the UK right now. Renowned for her performances with Bah Samba, TM Juke, Kushti and of course as the mighty, if tiny front woman of The Quantic Soul Orchestra. Alice’s lavishly soulful voice is both timeless and up to the minute modern. Whether live or on record, she always performs with her trademark self assurance and sass. Her style is a predominantly bluesy, soul lament but encompasses everything from funk to gospel to jazz and beyond. Her performances have that rarest of qualities: the ability to captivate the audience and command its attention, creating music that tugs at the emotions and raises hairs on the back of the neck. You really can’t fake what Miss Russell’s got!

Her debut offering “Under The Munka Moon” on Tru Thoughts was a retrospective of her finest works to date, both in original and remix forms highlighting her work with a range of musicians and producers. Soaring with smouldering tearstained gospel conviction, there’s certainly no mistaking that every fan of authentic soul jazz vocals will adore her vocal style. Her solo outing is a Live 8 piece band – Alice Russell Live comprising of a prime selction of talented musicians. Alice is truly one of the UK’s strongest vocalists and her effortless swoops and caresses make for a superb and goose bump inducing live show.

As next Alice Russell dropped her highly anticipated second album “My Favourite Letters”. The album has been produced and co-written by TM Juke who has added his magic musical touch to Alice’s gifted vocals. The album could be described as a kaleidoscope of soul music history with influences from Gospel, Hip Hop, Jazz, Northern Soul, Broken Beat, Electronica and Funk but a sound that connects the whole album.

After the enormous success of “My Favourite Letters”, Alice Russell returns with a second collection of collaborations, remixes and alternate takes. Already established as a gifted vocalist and songwriter in her own right, the 13 tracks chosen for “Under The Munka Moon II” serve as a testament, not only to the breadth of Alice’s appeal, but also to her versatility 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 and abetted 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 Japanese electronica don Susumu Yokota into a funky broken beat number, perfect for those long summer nights. The Boub’s 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 cut of “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 eclecticism, “Under The Munka Moon II” 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.

Tracklisting:

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 feat. Nostalgia 77
07. I Don’t Need This Trouble feat. Natural Self
08. A Fly In The Hand (DJ Vadim Mix)
09. Do It feat. 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)

The album Alice RussellUnder The Munka Moon II” (Tru Thoughts) has been released August 04, 2006.

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