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The Russ Liquid Test Explores Musical Boundaries in ‘1984 EP’ [Album Review]

1984 EP, the fruit of Andrew Block and Russ Liquid’s collaborative partnership The Russ Liquid Test, is their debut album from All Good Records. The seven track record is a sonic exploration that bridges the ‘sounds of today with the sounds of yesterday’ in a refreshingly authentic way.


Both artists agree when they say they are able to ‘expand [their] color palette through collaboration’, and New Orleans is the perfect laboratory to do this. The two live in the city and own their own studio, Neutral Sound Studio, where much of the experimentation and collaboration takes place. The result is a unique arsenal of skills which is showcased purposefully and perfectly in their project.

This is evident as Andrew states that,

“Russ is sort of a mad scientist that is literally one of the most creative people I’ve ever worked with, so I’m constantly learning new things from him. I come from more of a funk, soul, and blues background, while Russ is more Jazz, Hip-Hop and Electronic music, so between the two of us, we can cover a lot of ground.”

The project involved varying musicians from diverse backgrounds. Artists from New Orleans and around the country have come together to lend their personal flavor to the project, with direct guidance from the two masterminds of The Russ Liquid Test themselves.

With features from beloved Boston rapper, Mr. Lif, and New Orleans living legend, Ivan Neville (Dumpstaphunk front man), the album draws from deep roots in multiple genres. Russ Liquid also taps into more frequent and low key collaborators in the form of Carneyval and Emily Nichols.

The diverse range of musical guests ties into Andrew and Russ’s goal of creating an album ‘which runs the full gambit of human expression’. The end result is a truly funky, and soulful work of art.

 

  1. The Russ Liquid Test – 1984 (Ft. Ivan Neville)

The title track sets the mood straight for the rest of the album. The message is clear; that is they, “Ain’t no stoppin’ us”. It’s more upbeat than many of the songs and is straight funky, with some disco influences I dare to say. It forces you to get your butt on the dance floor, where it will most likely stay for the rest of the night.

  1. The Russ Liquid Test – Land of the Free (Feat Mr. Lif)

With verses from consciousness rapper Mr. Lif, it’s no surprise the track has a political undertone. Even so it is one of my favorite tracks from the album. With just one listen it’s easy to see why we had it on repeat for the past week. It’s moving, it’s deep, it’s soulful, and still manages to be catchy; talk about cross appeal..

  1. The Russ Liquid Test – Pleurant De Joine

Here the album slows down and lets you catch your breath. It immediately changes the mood of the room. Super laid back and super chill are the immediate thought processes that come to mind. However, it fits perfectly with the overall theme of the album, just on a different note.

  1. Russ Liquid & Carneyval – Let Me Stand (feat. Emily Nichols)

The chemistry between Tulane graduate, Carneyval, and Russ Liquid is as evident as ever here. With the mesmerizing vocals from Chicago songwriter Emily Nichols, the entire piece is beautifully weaved together making this one an instant classic to me and a personal favorite of the album.

  1. The Russ Liquid Test – Wherever (Ft. Erica Falls)

Returning to original form, Russ shows off some of the more intricate electronic production on the album which is what initially defined Russ early on in his career. This elaborate production coupled with local New Orleans vocalist Erica Falls is a perfect example of what makes Russ Liquid and Andrew Block’s vision so unique.

  1. The Russ Liquid Test – Honesty

The first single to be released in support of the EP is also the most popular song on the project; also arguably the best. It’s Russ Liquid at his best amplified by the raw emotion of a full live band. With a soulful range of horns, fresh production, and hypnotizing lyrics the song perfectly captures the ‘Honesty’ in which The Russ Liquid Test sought to capture.

  1. The Russ Liquid Test – FUNK FWD (Feat. Steve Swatkins)

The electro-funk legends, The Floozies, would be proud of this one. One of the funkiest and butt swaying tunes on the project closes out the tracklist in high form. With its high energy, it leaves you wanting and asking for more, which is the perfect objective of any project and artist.

 

As revitalizing and refreshing as the album is, nothing is quite like seeing and feeling the experience live for yourself. We invite you to join us on December 29th at the Howlin’ Wolf for New Orleans’ only Russ Liquid’s Electric Koolaid Acid Test.

 

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