El Michels Affair’s Leon Michels has been an in-demand performer, producer, songwriter, and record label owner for the last 20 years or so. He began touring in 2000 alongside Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, during which time he began recording his own songs in his makeshift home studio in order to release his first album, Sounding Out the City, in 2005. He then went on to perform with Raekwon, The Wu-Tang Clan, and by the release of his second album, Enter the 37th Chamber, his music was being sampled by top hip hop and rap artists such as Ghostface Killah, Just Blaze, Jay-Z, J.Cole, and Travis Scott.
El Michel Affair’s latest album, Yeti Season, was released in 2021, with “Lesson Learned” as its first single. In true El Michel Affair style, the track is modern-day mood music infused with instrumental soul and creates an evocative, lush soundscape that will keep you guessing at every turn.
It’s eerie and ruminative, with samples of wind whistling over the Himalayas and wordless vocal chants that create an atmospheric offering that is laidback, earthy, and somewhat cinematic.
Suffice it to say, the man knows what he’s doing, and he does it very, very well.