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Album: The Futurist
Artist: Robert Downey Jr
2004 Sony Classical (Sony BMG Music Entertainment)
CD: SK 92654

Robert Downey Jr.: lead vocals (all), background vocals (2, 5-7, 9), piano (1-3, 5, 6, 8, 9), keyboards (2, 4-7, 9), Wurlitzer (4), percussion (2), crotale (9)
Jon Anderson: vocals (7)
Jim Cox: piano (1), B3 organ (1)
Alan Broadbent: piano (10)
Jonathan Elias: B3 organ (7)
Tom Canning: B3 organ (9)
Armand Sabal-lecco: bass (2, 4, 6, 7)
Reggie Hamilton: bass (3, 5, 8, 9)
Charlie Haden: bass (10)
Steve Dudas: acoustic guitar (2, 4, 7), balalaika (7), electric guitar (6, 7)
Mark Hudson: acoustic guitar (2), electric guitar (2), percussion (2), background vocals (2)
Jimmy Haun: electric guitar (3)
Gregg Bissonette: drums (2, 6, 7, 9)
Vinnie Colaiuta: drums (3)
Chad Wackerman: drums (4)
Alec Puro: drums (5, 9)
Charlie Bisharat: violin (4)
Cameron Stone: cello (1, 4, 7)
Jeff Bunnell: flugel horn (8)
Sarah Hudson: background vocals (2)

Produced by Jonathan Elias (1, 3, 5, 7-9), Mark Hudson (2, 4, 6, 10)
Additional production ideas: Vincenzo LoRusso
Mixed by Dave Way, assisted by Mark Valentine and Lior Goldenberg
Engineered by Vincenzo LoRusso, Kevin Churko, Bruce Sugar, Douglas Reid
Assistant engineer: Ghian Wright (10)
Production coordinator: Amy Galland
Production assistants, Elias Arts: Vasilia Hughes, Carole Sanchez
Recorded at Elias Arts, Santa Monica, CA; Whatinthewhatthe? Los Angeles, CA; The Village Recorder, Los Angeles, CA
Mastered by Bernie Grundman

Art direction and design: Augustine Dei Wojogbe
Cover photo: Davis Factor
Artwork: Robert Downey Jr., Indio Falconer Downey, Russell Nachman
Video portrait: Robert Wilson
Additional photography: Robert Downey Jr., Jimmy "Spünge" LaRiccio, Vincenzo LoRusso, Jonathan Elias, Mark Hudson, Amy Galland

1. Man Like Me [Downey] (2:57)
2. Broken [Downey/M. Hudson] (5:12)
3. Kimberly Glide [Downey] (4:53)
4. The Futurist [Downey/M. Hudson] (5:00)
5. Little Clownz [Downey] (3:47)
6. 5:30 [Downey] (4:11)
7. Your Move [Anderson] (4:11)
8. Details [Downey] (3:59)
9. Hannah [Downey] (4:50)
10. Smile [Charles Chaplin; lyr: Geoffrey Clarmont Parsons/James John Turner Phillips] (3:49)

String arrangement: Lawrence Schwartz (3-5, 8)

Notes: (***) Robert Downey Jr was well-known as an actor, notably in Ally McBeal, before the general public ever knew of his musical ambitions. As such, one might fear that The Futurist is little more than a vanity project, but Downey presents a good collection of singer-songwriter material, aided by a group of sessioners, many familiar from previous Jonathan "Union" Elias projects. The opening track, "Man Like Me", and "Hannah" are particular stand-outs. Note also Union guitarist Jimmy Haun and Aura drummer Vinnie Colaiuta appear.

The material suits Downey's characterful singing voice, but it's more of a shock on the cover of "Your Move". Anderson provides backing vocals and there's some nice use of the cello in the arrangement. (HP, 18 Dec 04)

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