This past week at Red Bull Music Academy ‘s NYC HQ I had the pleasure of interviewing noted producer, arranger, composer and Harlemite, Mr. Patrick Adams . I think his was one of the first names to go up on the future RBMA lecturers wishlist when I got on board with the Academy way back when, but for whatever reason things never worked out till now. All good things in time, though. With the world now Daft Punk-happy off “Get Lucky” (personally, I prefer the “Shredded Version” ), the classic disco sound is mainstream again. And thus the classic disco sound of Patrick Adams’ productions should be more widely appreciated than ever. To the astute ear, though, his work has always transcended genre. No matter how floor-friendly Mr. Adams’ material (under solo and collective aliases like Cloud One, Universal Robot Band, Phreek, Musique, Sine, Bumblee Unlimited, Personal Touch, Rainbow Brown, Wish et al), his productions and compositions have always been melodically emotive enough to harken back to his impeccable early ’70s sweet soul sides with a teenaged, falsetto-ed Leroy Burgess in Black Ivory .
For his RBMA lecture, we got Patrick to play keys over Marta Acuna’s P&P gem “Dance Dance Dance” and demo the inventive chord changes he put behind Inner Life’s (hate using this word, but it’s totally applicable here) epic rendition of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” I also got a chance to ask him about engineering Eric B. & Rakim ‘s Paid In Full and Follow the Leader albums during his post-disco tenure at Power Play Studios in Long Island City, Queens – then a hip-hop recording hub. Much as I revere Eric and Ra’s Paul C and Large Pro-assisted Let the Rhythm Hit ‘Em , the sonic quality of those first two LPs remains so unique – simultaneously state of the art yet rough-hewn in a way that set them apart from everything else that was going on in hip-hop at the time. Patrick’s studio savvy would include such techniques as mic-ing the Microphone God’s vocals with a bass drum mic to best capture the impact of Ra’s voice without it popping on the “p”s. That Rakim readily acknowledged his contributions to those sessions in his own RBMA lecture a few weeks earlier was apropos and gave these talks a nice symmetry. Enjoy!