XL Recordings owner Richard Russell announces his much anticipated memoir Liberation Through Hearing
A spiritual journey through music by the Mercury Prize nominated musician and the man behind some of the world’s biggest recording artists including Adele, Dizzee Rascal and The Prodigy
For almost 30 years as a musician, producer, label boss and talent conductor at XL Recordings, Richard Russell has discovered, shaped and nurtured the artists who have rewritten the musical dictionary of the 21st century, artists like The Prodigy, Adele, M.I.A., Dizzee Rascal and Giggs. Growing up in north London in thrall to the raw energy of 80s US hip hop, Russell emerged as one part of rave outfit Kicks Like A Mule in 1991 at a moment when new technology enabled a truly punk spirit on the fledgling dance scene. Initially identified in the early 90s with breakbeat and hardcore before embracing a broader musical aesthetic, Russell’s stewardship of the label was always uncompromising and open to radical influences rather than conventional business decisions.
Released in April 2020 via White Rabbit, Liberation Through Hearing sees Richard Russell telling the remarkable story of XL Recordings and their three decades on the frontline of innovation in music; the eclectic chorus of artists who came to define the label’s unique aesthetic, and Russell’s own story; his highs and lows steering the fortunes of an independent label in a rapidly changing industry, his celebrated production work with Bobby Womack and Gil Scott-Heron on their late-career masterpieces and his own development as an artist as Everything Is Recorded.
Always searching for news sounds and new truths, Liberation Through Hearing is a portrait of a man who believes in the spiritual power of music to change reality. It is also the story of a record label that refused to be categorised by genre and in the process cut an idiosyncratic groove which was often underground in feel but mainstream in impact.
RICHARD RUSSELL SAID: ‘Writing this book was an opportunity for me to reflect on the last few decades. I hope people will get something from it. I’ve tried not to compromise in anything I’ve done, and that includes writing Liberation Through Hearing.’
LEE BRACKSTONE SAID: ‘To have any understanding of the music that has soundtracked the past three decades you need to read this book. Liberation Through Hearing documents Richard Russell’s investment in the great artists who defined rap, rave and all its infinite tributaries with a piercing honesty.’
ABOUT RICHARD RUSSELL
Richard Russell (b. 1971) is a British record producer, musician and the owner of the British record label XL Recordings. He has nurtured and guided some of the most influential recording artists of our time including Adele, Dizzee Rascal, The Prodigy, M.I.A. and Giggs. As a producer and musician, Russell has made albums with the likes of Gil Scott-Heron, Bobby Womack, Damon Albarn and Ibeyi and most recently launched his own artist project Everything Is Recorded, whose self-titled debut album was nominated for the 2018 Mercury Music Prize.
ABOUT XL RECORDINGS
XL Recordings is a British independent record label founded in 1989. Widely regarded as one of the most influential labels, XL releases on average just six albums a year and has worked with artists such as Adele, Arca, Beck, Dizzee Rascal, FKA twigs, Gil Scott-Heron, Giggs, The Horrors, Jai Paul, Jungle, Kamasi Washington, King Krule, M.I.A., Nines, The Prodigy, Peaches, Radiohead, Sampha, SBTRKT, Sigur Rós, Tyler, the Creator, Vampire Weekend, The White Stripes, and The xx.
ABOUT WHITE RABBIT
White Rabbit is a new imprint published by former Faber Social impresario Lee Brackstone launching in April 2020. In its inaugural year of 2020, White Rabbit will publish twelve titles by music industry legends like Carl Cox, Richard Russell, Mark Lanegan, Annie Nightingale, Chris Frantz and Jehnny Beth of Savages amongst others. Dedicated to publishing the most innovative books and voices in music and literature, Brackstone aims to build on the uniquely successful publishing he was responsible for at Faber Social with authors like The Beastie Boys, Viv Albertine and Jon Savage. Brackstone’s titles for his Orion imprint indicate the range and personality of a list that will encompass memoir, history, fiction, translation, illustrated books and high-spec limited editions.
ABOUT THE ORION PUBLISHING GROUP
Where every story matters.
The Orion Publishing Group is one of the UK’s leading publishers. Our mission is to bring the best publishing to the greatest variety of people. Open, agile, passionate and innovative – we believe that everyone will find something they love at Orion. Founded in 1991, the Orion Publishing Group today publishes under seven main imprints: Gollancz, the UK’s No1 science fiction and fantasy imprint; Orion Fiction, a heartland for brilliant commercial fiction; Orion Spring, home of wellbeing and health titles written by passionate celebrities and world-renowned experts; Seven Dials, for the very best commercial non-fiction, beautifully designed and produced; Trapeze for commercial fiction and non-fiction books that start conversations; White Rabbit, dedicated to publishing the most innovative books and voices in music and literature; and Weidenfeld & Nicolson, one of the most prestigious and dynamic literary imprints in British and international publishing. The Orion Publishing Group is part of Hachette UK which is a leading UK trade publishing group.