Like It’s 1994/95: Uhuru

A recurring introspective retrospective of my music as it sounded twenty years earlier. In early 1994, I took my first trip to Europe, spending a week in Lyon where my music was heard at a university dance festival as well as in the subway for a pop up freestyle contemporary dance event. I spent the latter part of the year working on the indie cassette release Uhuru, which would come out the following spring, and playing keyboards and percussion in a post-punk band. In early 1995, another dance score was heard in London. In late 1995, I began graduate studies at York University, returning nine years after I had first arrived as an undergraduate.

Throughout this period, I continued to hold down a full time retail job selling classical and jazz CDs in Yorkville, as well as freelancing as a composer for dance and theatre. I also got my first taste of hosting college radio. It was my most active period being involved in music in general.

November 1994 rec. February 1995. 8 voices (2 per part), 8 track reel-to-reel. Begins with a row on the seven pitches of the diatonic scale. The pronunciation of uhuru was conflated with “yoo hoo” although I now prefer the proper initial “u” sound. This is life before autotune, for better or worse. Photo: handwritten score excerpt, 1995

Music and composer’s notes copyright Bruce A. Russell 2014

Spring Affair

Peter Brown | Without Love
Deniece Williams | How’d I Know That Love Would Slip Away
Táta Vega | Mr. Troublemaker
Greg Phillinganes | Lazy Nina
Ronnie Laws | All for You
Patrice Rushen | Music of the Earth
Michael Wycoff | Looking Up to You
Herbie Hancock | Stars in Your Eyes (Special Disco Remix)
Pleasure | I’m Mad
Donald Byrd | Love Has Come Around
Evelyn “Champagne” King | What Are You Waiting For
Loleatta Holloway | Love Sensation
Logg | Something Else
Donna Summer | Spring Affair
Gene Harris | Losalamitoslatinfunklovesong

Spring Affair

1974-1985

Analog keys, horns, vibes, strings, human drummers and sangin’

Classics with a tempo flow and a little harmonic mixing (no pitch shifting)

Dedicated with love, love, love to Nehal El-Hadi (aka Nina), writer, poet,
researcher, producer, my wife and mother/stepmother of our children

Thank you also to Nehal for the title graphic on the cover photo

I B R Λ H I M ΞL M Λ H B O O B
April 2014

Golden Beats

Bilal | Back to Love
Quadron | LFT
Toto ft. Cheryl Lynn | Georgy Porgy
Gino Vannelli | Fly into this Night
Manzel | Midnight Theme (Dopebrother 12 Inch Remix)
The Emotions | There’ll Never Be Another Moment
Earth, Wind & Fire | Beijo (Interlude) ‧ Brazilian Rhyme
D.J. Rogers | Love Will Make It Better
Pockets | Come Go with Me
Donny Hathaway | Come Little Children
Gregory Porter | 1960 What? (Opolopo Kick & Bass Rerub)
Thundercat | Oh Sheit It’s X
Wally Badarou | He Was a Rasta in London Town
Rufus ft. Chaka Khan | At Midnight (My Love Will Lift You Up)
George Duke | Psychosomatic Dung
Sparkle | Let Yourself Go
The Staples | Love Me, Love Me, Love Me
Doug Carn ft. Jean Carne | Naima
Laura Mvula | Diamonds

Mixed by El Mahboob
Southward Equinox 2013

Golden Beats

Special focus on Kalimba Productions
(The Emotions, Earth, Wind & Fire, D.J. Rogers and Pockets)

RIP George Duke

Birthday Music

Today would have been the 85th birthday of my father Samuel Lawrence (Larry) Russell. He died two months short of his 65th, so this year is also the twentieth anniversary of his passing. Although as a transracial adoptee I have travelled on an outlying cultural path from that of my adoptive family, they are the original source of love in my life.

If my father was a little out of his era and his element in following what I did as a young musician—his natural musical heroes were Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra and Buddy Holly—he always had time to listen to whatever seemingly strange, novice piece I was working on and the even stranger theory behind it. He would encourage me and then gently mention “making it accessible.”


I don’t know what he would have made of Birthday Music, one of a number of pieces I composed and dedicated to him in the year after his death. Created for my demo reel as a composer for dance, it’s an admittedly bizarre concoction incorporating just intonation tuning, drones, my quirky programming style and the strongest evidence of Steve Reich’s influence on my work. With all that in the mix, I still relied on good-old, I-VI-I-V-I blues structure in the bassline, and a snare-kick backbeat, albeit in 3/2 time.

For Larry, with love

Composed and recorded on a Korg M1 workstation, May 31, 1993

Music and composer’s notes copyright Bruce Russell 2013

Best of 2011/2012

The past 24 months have been full of wonderful blessings and have witnessed the happiest period of my life so far. Alhamdulillah, for all that has been given.

It thus seems fitting to me, in doing a best of list, to look at the last two years as a whole. Here’s what has brought (re)new(ed)ness to the personal soundtrack, in no particular order (other than stream of consciousness)…

Returnings: Music of Ann Southam – Eve Egoyan, piano (Centrediscs, 2011)

Glass Houses Revisited – music of Ann Southam; Christina Petrowska Quilico, piano (Centrediscs, 2011)

Soundings for a New Piano – music of Ann Southam; R. Andrew Lee, piano (Irritable Hedgehog, 2011)

Jürg Frey: Piano Music – R. Andrew Lee, piano (Irritable Hedgehog, 2012)

The Northern Shore – music of Barbara Monk Feldman; Sabat/Clarke and Aki Takahashi (Mode, 2012)

Undercurrents: CONTACT Performs the Music of Jordan Nobles – CONTACT Contemporary Music (Redshift, 2011)

Until the Quiet Comes – Flying Lotus (Warp, 2012)

Seeds – Georgia Anne Muldrow (Someothaship CONNECT, 2012)

Radio Music Society – Esperanza Spalding (Heads Up International, 2012)

Black Radio – Robert Glasper Experiment (Blue Note, 2012)

Brand New Wayo: Funk, Fast Times & Nigerian Boogie Madness 1979-1983 – Various Artists (Comb & Razor, 2011)

Music of Vladimir Martynov – Kronos Quartet (Nonesuch, 2012)

WTC 9/11, Mallet Quartet, Dance Patterns – music of Steve Reich; Kronos Quartet, Sō Percussion, Steve Reich & Musicians (Nonesuch, 2011)

Symphony No. 9 – music of Philip Glass; Bruckner Orchester Linz, Dennis Russell Davies, conductor (Orange Mountain, 2012)

Seeing is Believing – music of Nico Muhly, William Byrd and Orlando Gibbons; Thomas Gould, violin; Aurora Orchestra, Nicholas Collon, conductor (Decca, 2011)

Adam’s Lament – music of Arvo Pärt; Latvian Radio Choir, Vox Clamantis, Sinfonietta Riga, Tõnu Kaljuste, conductor (ECM, 2012)

Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima / Popcorn Superhet Receiver / Polymorphia / 48 Responses to Polymorphia – music of Krzysztof Penderecki and Jonny Greenwood; AUKSO Orchestra, Krzysztof Penderecki and Marek Moś, conductors (Nonesuch, 2012)

Son of Chamber Symphony / String Quartet – music of John Adams; International Contemporary Ensemble, John Adams, conductor and St. Lawrence String Quartet (Nonesuch, 2011)

January edits:

Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi, The Four Seasons – Daniel Hope, violin; Konzerthaus Kammerorchester Berlin, André de Ridder, conductor (Deutsche Grammophon, 2012)

Pour une âme souveraine – a Dedication to Nina Simone – Meshell Ndegeocello (naïve, 2012)

Pink – Four Tet (Text, 2012)

Happy New Year to all the readers and followers of El Mahboob, and all my best to you for 2013.

Re‧mi Do

Summer encounters.

Syreeta  |  I Love Every Little Thing About You
Mulatu Astatke  |  Mulatu
Omar  |  Music (What I Live For)
Lewis Taylor  |  Lucky
The RH Factor  |  Poetry ft. Q-Tip, Erykah Badu
DJ Mitsu The Beats  |  Right Here ft. Dwele
Chaka Khan  |  Love Has Fallen on Me
Georgia Anne Muldrow  |  Blackman
Aloe Blacc  |  Find Your Way
Sly & The Family Stone  |  Sylvester
Marvin Gaye  |  What’s Going On (instrumental)
John Williams  |  Theme from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”
Maze feat. Frankie Beverly  |  Feel That You’re Feelin’ (New Orleans, 1980)
Dorothy Ashby  |  Wax and Wane
Esperanza Spalding  |  Sunlight
Koop  |  Whenever There Is You
Don Blackman  |  Holding You, Loving You
Four Tet  |  Angel Echoes
Jazzanova  |  Little Bird ft. Jose James
Kool & The Gang  |  Summer Madness (London, 1975)

Mixed by El Mahboob, June 2012
Dedicated to Nina & Queen Peace

Re‧mi Do
‧ an affirmation to my daughter
‧ the first three notes of the famous musical signal from the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind
‧ three key signature areas (re for D/D-flat, mi for E major/minor, and do for C) where songs in the mix are grouped together. I’ve used the technique of harmonic mixing/selecting to unite or contrast songs.

The copyrights for these recordings are the intellectual property of the artists, though the corporations take the credit and the money. I own nothing. Support music.