Little did you know he was this amazing musical genius. And how a record can sound when there's an intimate setting, and you have these amazing musicians that are like-minded and are going for a certain feel. I might not have known how they came up with it, but I would try to experiment and try to create it on my own. He played me the songs that were finished so far, and I was like, "Yeah, get me on this album. And for the artist, it was such an important statement that he waited nearly 15 years to follow it up. No! It was just before Pro Tools became a standard in the industry — everything was mixed and recorded to tape. In 2001, Voodoo won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Album at the 43rd Grammy Awards, which was awarded to D'Angelo and recording engineer Russell Elevado. At the time, the neo-soul movement was an alternative to the steadily flashier edge of '90s hip-hop and R&B, and Voodoo was its apex. Voodoo is almost a concept album in that D’Angelo, also the songwriter and primary producer, creates a very specific sonic world centered around his compelling voice.It’s complete with recurring snippets of conversation that make you feel as if you’re wandering through the dopest house party ever, resulting in an intimacy that on headphones becomes even more profound. He knew everybody was feeling the same way — management, the record label: "But what is he saying?" It starts off distorted for two words, and the next word will be kind of echoey — all this different processing in one line. D'Angelo, though, has historically felt little connection to the term, much the way no artist wants to contend with the expectations and limitations of genre; when the singer first broke through, he'd pegged his sound as, simply, "black music," and there is perhaps no better descriptor for the record despite its associations. Exactly. And listening now, I love that Voodoo sounds like it was recorded in 1975. Well, that's another thing — the song cuts off like that because the tape runs out. "I grew up on classic rock and soul — like, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, that's really where my roots are," Elevado says. Russell Elevado: When I first started engineering I was doing a lot of house music, with Frankie Knuckles and David Morales. Because the bass has to be right. You've said that part of your goal was make this music sound vintage, or like an original version of the old records that producers were sampling at the time. Russell Elevado was there, too. His soulful voice is just as sweet as it was on Brown Sugar, though D'Angelo stretches out with a varied cast of collaborators, including trumpeter Roy Hargrove and guitarist Charlie Hunter, fellow neo-soul stars Lauryn Hill and Raphael Saadiq, and hip-hop heads like Jay Dee, DJ Premier, Method Man & Redman, and Q-Tip. Some user-contributed text on this page is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. Striving to get that in my early part of my career, think I intuitively started to know how to make the bass pump without being too large, and get the impact of the drums. When D'Angelo released his masterpiece Voodoo at the turn of the century (and five years after his debut, Brown Sugar), it was immediately clear he'd avoided the dreaded sophomore slump to evolve into a musician who was as concerned with honoring the past as he was with his artistic impulses, no matter where they took him. hide caption. He'd heard what I was doing, saw my mixes were sounding good. It was kind of like he was schooling me on a lot of funk music, and I was schooling him more on the rock side. How do you, as an engineer and a mixer, work with such a complex soundscape? Later on, I realized how much it was like the work I was doing on house music. And also, we were mixing his vocal level lower than normal. You know, every once in a while. In general, there's a warmer sound, more of a natural sound, and it gives you more of an impression of depth and width in the music. -- D'Angelo in the… Even to this day, I find myself hearing new things — just the layers in the engineering, the mixing, the production, the vocal work. Voodoo is a gumbo of black innovation—blues, jazz, soul, funk, gospel even—peppered by a full spectrum of humanity, from despair to sheer ecstasy. That was actually a track that was recorded in Cuba. Nowadays, everything is recorded digitally, but all of the past legends made their music on tape machines. How much is D'Angelo worth? Let us know what you think of the Last.fm website. Released on Jan. 25, 2000, the second album by D'Angelo was hailed as a high point of the neo-soul era. Once he got it, it was like an epiphany: "Wow, I can't believe it — everybody was influenced by Jimi Hendrix." He's like, "That sounds amazing, but seven songs are finished. What's going on at the beginning of the album, on the first track? I guess it's in my DNA. And the kick drum should have its own presence to not get in the way of the bass. House music is all about the bass and drums, and I guess that filters into everything else I did. I was raised in this black Pentecostal church where I played the saxophone in the band, and we would sneak riffs from Voodoo into the church music because we were so obsessed with it. As Nate Chinen of NPR's Jazz Night in America described in The New York Times, The Soulquarians were in their own world — jamming out to old Prince and Stevie bootlegs, transporting themselves and the music they made there to the past, not the future. The grooves contained within the album are deep enough to swallow you, even and especially when they head past the six-minute mark. We Insist: A Timeline Of Protest Music In 2020. And as hindsight makes clear, Voodoo wasn't really a neo-soul album at all. Benjamin Chambers/Courtesy of the artist Sam Sanders is an NPR correspondent and host of the podcast It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders. It was Charlie Hunter and Questlove and D'Angelo, and they had just covered two or three Hendrix tunes: I think they played the actual song "Electric Ladyland," and maybe "Castles Made of Sand," something from Axis. Left And Right - feat. And besides that, just keeping on the same vision: My mind was already moving on to other things that I could be doing. I was doing a lot of that: experimenting with different types of microphones, processing through amplifiers, or overloading the line amps on the console to see if I could come up with an "oldish" sound. Let us know what you think of the Last.fm website. First of all, just fundamentally having a lot of sounds from that era in my brain. D’Angelo’s Voodoo is indisputably the first classic soul album of the 21st century.Released on January 25, 2000, it was the follow-up to his impressive debut, 1995’s Brown Sugar, and it seemed to take eons to arrive. We used to call it "D'Bonics.". Or make the track sound rougher, so it's not as slick." But also, with digital recording, you can undo something.