El Michels Affair

El Michels Affair is an American "cinematic soul" group led by New York-based musician Leon Michels. The group released its debut album Sounding Out The City in 2005. After touring behind Raekwon and other Wu-Tang Clan members, the group recorded the popular cover album Enter The 37th Chamber in 2009. After releasing other cover albums during the following decade, El Michels Affair released the original albums Adult Themes in 2020 and Yeti Season in 2021.

El Michels Affair
OriginBrooklyn, New York, U.S.
Genres
  • Funk
  • soul
  • hip-hop
  • jazz
Years active2000-present
LabelsBig Crown, Truth & Soul, Fat Beats
Associated actsMenahan Street Band, The Arcs, Wu-Tang Clan, The Shacks, Lee Fields, Freddie Gibbs
Websiteelmichelsaffair.com

HistoryEdit

Michels played with Soul Fire Records house band The Mighty Imperials before forming his own ensemble in 2002.[1] This group released singles for Soul Fire and for Misty, a sublabel of Daptone Records, as well as a full-length album which was released on the Michels-cofounded label Truth & Soul Records in 2005.[1] Titled Sounding Out the City, the album drew from library music and afrobeat influences.[2] After performing with Raekwon at a concert, the group began working with other members of the Wu-Tang Clan and covered several of their songs for vinyl single releases.[1] By 2009, this had yielded an album's worth of material, which was released in 2009 as Enter the 37th Chamber, the name is a play on the album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).[3] El Michels Affair followed this with a second album of arrangements of songs by Wu-Tang Clan and from its members' solo releases, titled Return to the 37th Chamber.[4][5]

In 2019, they accompanied Freddie Gibbs and Madlib at their popular NPR Tiny Desk performance and later recorded The Diamond Mine Sessions with them.[6][7]

El Michels Affair began the 2020s with new original material; they released their album Adult Themes in 2020 and followed it less than a year later with the Turkish pop and prog-inspired Yeti Season in March 2021;[8][9] the album features vocals from Hindi language singer Piya Malik and The Shacks.[2]

ContributorsEdit

  • Leon Michels – bandleader and producer, tenor saxophone, flute, keyboards, guitar, bass, percussion, engineering

Other contributors include:

DiscographyEdit

Studio albumsEdit

Title Details
Sounding Out The City
  • Released: August 23, 2005
  • Label: Truth & Soul
  • Format: LP, CD, digital
Adult Themes
  • Released: May 8, 2020
  • Label: Big Crown
  • Format: LP, CD, digital[10]
Yeti Season
  • Released: March 26, 2021
  • Label: Big Crown
  • Format: LP, CD, digital[11]

Tribute & remix albumsEdit

Title Details
Enter The 37th Chamber
  • Released: April 21, 2009
  • Label: Fat Beats
  • Format: LP, CD, cassette, digital
  • Wu-Tang Clan covers album
Walk On By (A Tribute To Isaac Hayes) EP
  • Released: November 12, 2010
  • Label: Truth & Soul
  • Format: 12", CD
  • Issac Hayes cover album
Return To The 37th Chamber
  • Released: April 14, 2017
  • Label: Big Crown
  • Format: LP, CD, cassette, digital
  • Wu-Tang Clan covers album[12]
Ekundayo Inversions
(with Liam Bailey)
  • Released: August 13, 2021
  • Label: Big Crown
  • Format: LP, CD, digital
  • Collaborative remix album of Ekundayo[13]

EPsEdit

Title Details
PJs... From Afar
(with Raekwon)
  • Released: March 1, 2007
  • Label: Truth & Soul
  • Format: 12", CD, digital
Loose Change
  • Released: 2014
  • Label: Truth & Soul
  • Format: 12", CD, digital
  • Outtakes from Sounding Out the City[14]
The Diamond Mine Sessions
(with Freddie Gibbs & Madlib)
  • Reinterpretation of tracks from Bandana

SinglesEdit

Title

(A-side/B-side)

Year Album Label Format
"Detroit Twice" / "Too Late To Turn Back" 2003 Sounding Out The City Misty 7"
"Creation" / "Behind The Blue Curtains" 2005 Truth & Soul 7"
"C.R.E.A.M" / "Glaciers of Ice" (Wu-Tang cover) 2006 Enter The 37th Chamber 7"
"Duel of The Iron Mic" / "Bring Da Ruckus" (Wu-Tang cover) 7"
"Musings To Myself" / "Spread Your Soul" 2008 7"
"4th Chamber" / "Snakes" (Wu-Tang cover) 2016 Return To The 37th Chamber Big Crown 7"
"Tearz" / "Verbal Intercourse" 7"
"Strange Boy" / "No Surprise" (feat. The Shacks) non-album single 7", digital
"Shadow Boxin" / "Iron Maiden" (Wu-Tang cover) 2017 Return To The 37th Chamber 7"
"Never Be Another You" 2018 Non-album single 7"
"Unathi" / "Zaharilia" (feat. Piya Malik) Yeti Season 7", digital
"12345678910" 2019 Non-album singles digital
"Reasons" (feat. Bobby Oroza) / "Hipps" 2020 7", digital
"Dhuaa" (feat. Piya Malik) Yeti Season digital
"Sha Na Na" (feat. The Shacks) digital
"Murkit Gem" (feat. Piya Malik) 2021 7", digital
"Ala Vida" digital
"Fazed Out" digital
"Awkward (Take 2)" (with Liam Bailey) Ekundayo Inversions (with Liam Bailey) digital

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c El Michels Affair at Allmusic
  2. ^ a b "El Michels Affair, "Yeti Season"". Bandcamp Daily. 2021-03-24. Retrieved 2021-03-26.
  3. ^ Review of Enter the 37th Chamber. Pitchfork Media, May 11, 2009.
  4. ^ Review of Enter the 37th Chamber. Consequence of Sound, April 25, 2017.
  5. ^ Review of Enter the 37th Chamber. Allmusic.
  6. ^ "Freddie Gibbs And Madlib: Tiny Desk Concert". NPR.org. Retrieved 2021-03-06.
  7. ^ "Freddie Gibbs Says He's Making More Music With Madlib and Shares 'The Diamond Mine Sessions'". Complex. Retrieved 2021-03-12.
  8. ^ "Adult Themes, by El Michels Affair". El Michels Affair. Retrieved 2021-03-06.
  9. ^ "Yeti Season, by El Michels Affair". El Michels Affair. Retrieved 2021-03-06.
  10. ^ "Adult Themes, by El Michels Affair". El Michels Affair. Retrieved 2021-03-12.
  11. ^ "Yeti Season, by El Michels Affair". El Michels Affair. Retrieved 2021-03-12.
  12. ^ "Return To The 37th Chamber, by El Michels Affair". El Michels Affair. Retrieved 2021-03-12.
  13. ^ "Ekundayo Inversions, by El Michels Affair meets Liam Bailey". El Michels Affair. Retrieved 2021-05-03.
  14. ^ "Loose Change EP, by El Michels Affair". El Michels Affair. Retrieved 2021-03-12.