With the debut Kamaal Williams album The Return, the bandleader, AKA Henry Wu, decided to try to adopt a comfortable and free-flowing approach to their sound. "The album was recorded on a Clarett 8Pre in my mum's front room," says Williams. "Not only is it special that it was just one unit that we recorded it off, it was more the environment in which it was recorded in. I think those two elements make up what it means to create a piece of music."
The Return is a natural evolution from the Yussef Kamaal project, mining the influence of visionary jazz but blended with all kinds of texture, sounds and signals from the over-saturated London streets.
Notable tracks for old and new listeners are Salaam, Situations and Medina. LDN Shuffle features Mansur Brown (of Mansur's Message), and for those diehard Yussef Kamaal fans – they should hear the interpolated roots of Strings of Light in the title track The Return. Signature Wu Funk can be heard on Broken Theme and High Roller.
The Clarett 8Pre 18-in, 20-out Thunderbolt™ audio interface was a big revelation for engineer Richard Samuels. "We've had situations where we've been in SSL studios and we've had all the great kit," he says, "but the performance we get from the musicians being in an environment that's so comfortable for them is like night and day really."
The Return was the debut album released on Wu's new label Black Focus Records on 25 May 2018. It was mastered by Guy Davie at Electric.
To find out more about Clarett 8Pre, visit: focusrite.com/clarett-range