DISCLOSURE Energy 2LP set Transparent Vinyl
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“The title is everything,” Disclosure’s Guy Lawrence says of the fraternal duo’s exhilarating third album, Energy. "The thing that decided which songs made it and which songs didn’t was that one word: ENERGY. Every track was written really quickly. That’s why we had to write so many songs because those ones don’t come up every day. Or every week. Or every month.”
The album is bookended by its two most established artists. Kelis kicks things off with the charismatic breakbeat romp Watch Your Step. “We’ve wanted to work with her for years,” says Howard. “It reminded me of working with Mary J Blige because they’re from the generation that was there for house first time around. We were still babies.” For the breezily reassuring final track, Reverie, Howard and Common threw rhymes back and forth: the first time the veteran MC had ever written lyrics with someone else.
Common is far from the only rapper on ENERGY. Compton’s gruff-voiced Channel Tres rides a bumping house groove on Lavender, Chicago’s Mick Jenkins winds through stealthy two-step on Who Knew, and Aminé and arguably one of the UKs most compelling rappers slowthai go head-to-head on the absurdly exciting hip-house rampage, My High. “We always wanted to work with rappers,” says Howard. “We just didn’t know any and we had no means of contacting them.” Guy gives a wry smile. “There’s not a lot of rappers in Reigate.”
ENERGY is also the first time Disclosure have worked with artists who sing in other languages: Mali’s Fatoumata Diawara (Mali Mali) and Cameroon’s Blick Bassy (Ce N’est Pa), who jumbles up French with his own invented dialect. The basic track was recorded in one take, with Guy manipulating the 808 drum machine, Howard on bass and Bassy improvising. “That sums up the album for me,” says Guy. “It’s not even a real language but all the tone and flow is there.”
ENERGY’s commitment to immediacy doesn’t mean it lacks variety. Birthday, with Kehlani and Syd, is a yearning R&B slow jam, while Thinking ‘Bout You is a deliciously woozy re-edit of Lady’s 1976 soul single You’re Still the One. But as the sessions progressed, the music got harder and faster. The first offering from the record and, aptly the title track, pits a raucous rhythm from an album of Brazilian library music against a sample of Eric Thomas, the same hip hop preacher whose words memorably appeared on 2013’s When a Fire Starts to Burn. Thomas gives the album a kind of manifesto: “Look! Where your focus goes, your energy flows. Are you hearing me?”
- Watch Your Step
- My High
- Who Knew?
- Douha (Mali Mali)
- Fractal (Interlude)
- Ce n’est pas
- Thinking ‘Bout You (Interlude)