10 years ago, Truth & Soul released it's rst full length record, Sounding Out The City. It was also
Leon Michels' rst full length record under the moniker El Michels A air. At the time, the
budding retro soul scene consisted of mostly organ quartets a la The Meters and of course,
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings were in the early days of their ascent to world domination.
Leon Michels, who was 18 when recording Sounding Out The City began, had just released
Thunder Chicken, the rst record by his high school band The Mighty Imperials. At the time of
SOTC, Michels was just discovering early rocksteady, afrobeat, and 60's garage rock, which
inevitably crept its way into the songwriting. He purchased a Tascam 388, an 80's 1/4" reel to
reel 8 track intended for home recordings, and began recording music in a 10x10 box with no
windows that also doubled as his childhood bedroom. Along with fellow Mighty Imperials Nick
Movshon, Homer Steinweiss, and Sean Solomon, and Michael Leonhart, Thomas Brenneck, and
some of the musicians from The Dap Kings, Michels recorded the LP over a two year period.
Upon it's release, it received some rave reviews and the small deep funk community ate it up,
but due to the lack luster promotion and distribution the rest of the world was slow to catch on
to the instrumental gems featured on SOTC, which Michels appropriately labeled as "cinematic
soul". However, in 2005 it found it's way into the hands of the people who were organizing a
series of concerts for Scion that paired bands with MC's. El Michels A air was contacted about
playing one show with Raekwon The Chef of Wu Tang Clan fame. The show was such a success
it led to a tour, and then to another set of concerts that featured multiple members of the
Wu-Tang Clan. This eventually led to the release of El Michels A air's second record, "Enter the
37th Chamber" which introduced them to a much larger audience and has been their most
successful release to date.
This deluxe reissue features the original Sounding Out The City album remastered as well as
some alternate remixes and previously unreleased songs that were recorded during the same
period as SOTC on the second disc Loose Change. Michels has since gone on to produce and
co-produce many of the Truth & Soul releases including the new Lee Fields record, Emma Jean.
He shares songwriting credits with Adele, Jay-Z, Ghostface Killah, Aloe Blacc, and has played on
records by Ray LaMontagne, Lana Del Rey, The Black Keys and Dr. John. Loose Change is a
glimpse into the early, early days of El Michels A air.