August 01, 2005 15:02 ET

Truth & Soul/Fastlife Music to Release New Album by Cinematic Soul Group El Michels Affair

"Sounding Out The City" to Be Released on August 23, 2005

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- August 1, 2005 -- On August 23rd Truth & Soul / Fastlife Music will release El Michels Affair's debut album "Sounding Out The City." El Michels Affair are true originals of "cinematic soul." On this album, the group has put together eleven, instrumental gems that will have producers running to their samplers and record collectors reaching for their wallets.

Through its Jamaican production aesthetics, lush cinematic arrangements, and raw, soulful musicality, "Sounding Out The City" is not only a record that will incite dance-floor frenzies, but is also a story expressed through music, a reflection of life in a bustling metropolis -- good, bad, and indifferent. Highlights on "Sounding Out The City" include "Detroit Twice," "Musings To Myself" (El Michels Affair's tribute to deep funk guru, Timothy McNealy), "Behind The Blue Curtains," and a unique cover of the Isaac Hayes classic, "Hung Up On My Baby."

El Michels Affair was started in early 2001 by Leon Michels, who at the time was recording steadily for Phillip Lehman's underground, New York based funk label, Soul Fire. Prior to this, at age 16 Michels had been part of a deep funk organ quartet called the Mighty Imperials which thrived in the deep funk scene along with the Poets of Rhythm and the Dap Kings. In 2001 the band disbanded and Michels and bandmate Movshon went to work and record for Lehman's label Soul Fire.

Both Michels and Movshon had been reared on a strict musical diet of James Brown and the Meters and had begun to widen their horizons with heavy doses of Rock Steady, Dub, Garage Rock, Afro Beat, and 70's soundtrack records. With these influences fresh in their heads, they began to record music that strayed from the usual cookie cutter funk that had begun to saturate the genre.

In 2003, when Lehman's interest in his label began to wane, Michels purchased a Tascam 388, a 1/4 inch, 8 track home recording module from the late seventies and started to record songs in parents basement, experimenting with different sounds and off-beat recording techniques, and officially started El Michels Affair.

The band soon expanded into a nine-piece outfit. Members are: Toby Pazner, Homer Steinweiss, Sean Solomon, Jeff Silverman, Quincy Bright, Michael Leonhart, Aaron Johnson, Thomas Brenneck, and Stuart Douglas Bogie. There first single as El Michels Affair was a 12" entitled Easy Access on Soul Fire's label and it soon became a classic for underground hip hop and funk DJ's such as Rich Medina and Keb Darge, who kept it in heavy rotation for years. The band slowly worked at achieving its sound and their first and upcoming record was finished in 2003 but shelved for two years.

In 2004 Michels and former Soul Fire employee and engineer, Jeff Silverman, started their own label, Truth & Soul, which has now become label and production house based out of Brooklyn, NY that specializes in deep funk and soul. Truth & Soul has recently teamed up with Fastlife Music. (Fastlife's "Soul Fire: the Majestic Collection" recently chronicled the history of the label). "Sounding Out The City" hits the street August 23rd.

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