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Let's see what your next single sounds like,'" Saadiq says, shaking his head. He's built a career on solid, enduring tunes and killer live shows.

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(Saadiq has a long production history, too, having presided over his own albums since The Tonys, and helming tracks by The Roots, Mary J. So we started out copying that, but as the process went on, we sort of found our own sound within that: ‘Let’s try to re-create that sound, but also modernize it by making the bass heavier and the kick drums pretty slammin’. “That last album was a lot of fun to make,” Saadiq agrees.

Blige, The Isley Brothers, Macy Gray, Snoop Dogg, D’Angelo, and many, many others; Brungardt worked on a few of those, too.)Saadiq and Brungardt obviously connect strongly on a work level—Saadiq likes to layer multiple instruments himself; he and Brungardt have spent countless hours together in the studio, and temperamentally, they are clearly suited to each other. “Being in the studio and miking things up in certain ways, and studying up on the Motown EQs and all that, figuring out exactly the right tone for that rhythm guitar part. Saadiq says that though is more in keeping with his other projects that have drawn from more influences: “I’ve never shut my ears to anything, really.

But another bond they share is their love of collecting gear and musical instruments, and a fascination with historic recording techniques. We spent on that stuff, and not just trying to make it sound ‘old,’ but to put our stamp on it. It’s not like I’m always looking for things, either, but I can’t close my ears to any music.

“I was always into collecting gear on e Bay, even back in San Francisco,” Brungardt comments, “so we started buying things like [Telefunken] V72 preamps and old Ampex tape machines—we’d take the preamps out of those and rack them up. Chuck really goes to the wall for me when I’m dreaming all this stuff up. Any guitar, any drums, any rhythm section— I’ve always been open to those things, trying to understand what makes them work in a song.”Brungardt reveals that the move away from the Motown sound “was kind of an accident.

"They had a lot of fun, but it doesn't seem like anybody was too wild." So far, so businesslike, but Saadiq was basically touring the world with Mr. It's only up to me when I make it, then it's out of my hands." It's a wonderful gift, though, isn't it? "I mean, I've heard people say, 'We've made babies to your songs,'" he adds. A lot of people say they named their daughter Deja [from 'Ask of You'].

I think that's cool." There's plenty of baby-making music on , from the outrageously slinky, harmonica-drizzled title track to the raw garage-rocker "Over You." "This is the beginning of a cycle of records that will really define me," Saadiq says with quiet confidence.

It’s a more eclectic album all the way around, but in the scope of Saadiq’s whole career, just another synthesis of his roots and current fascinations.

After all, he first tackled Motown-style songwriting with “The Tonys” (as he calls them), and his first solo album was called Engineer Charles Brungardt and Raphael Saadiq at Ocean Way Recording in Hollywood.

has joined with other hip-hop artists in a song to honor pioneer soul singer Bobby Womack, who passed away last week.

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