Led by Saxophonist Rob Mitchell, Abstract Orchestra have been a consistent presence on the u.k. music scene, touring constantly in promotion of their debut LP “Dilla” and follow up 45 “New Day feat. Illa J”, steadily building a loyal and supportive fanbase. Inspired by the legendary live performances of The Roots with Jay-Z and the 40 piece orchestral arrangements by Miguel-Atwood Ferguson of the work of J Dilla, classic arranging techniques underpin modern loop-based structures, breathing new life into familiar material. The band itself is based on the classic jazz big band instrumentation of saxes, trumpets and trombones and features the cream of the north of England’s jazz scene who collectively have played with Jamiroquai, Corinne Bailey Rae, Mark Ronson, Martha Reeves, John Legend & the Roots, Roots Manuva and Amy Winehouse.
Edit Bunker. Killer duo. Live playing + tracks + video. Synced audio to – band namesake – Edith (and Archie) Bunker. Awesome. An NYC band led by Zach Danziger, these dudes are a DJ’s dream.
MXXWLL. An ongoing fave. Drawing on a seamless blend of influences from old school G-funk to sly nods to J Dilla, Beats Vol. 1 is an easy listening, groove heavy time. The second track is a slow builder, and worth the reveal. A touch of Pomo. A dash of Prince. Synth and beat heaven.
Mister Barrington. A new fave. An NYC band pioneered by Owen Biddle, of The Roots fame, this sucker is right up a DJ’s alley. With another personal hero, drummer Zach Danziger at the rhythm helm, the music is crazy creative. Basically a mix of 80s video game + super modern jazz, while their slightly older stuff has the timeless aroma of peak D’Angelo. Synth and beat heaven.
IDM. Intelligent Dance Music. So called. As in, different from SDM; Stupid Dance Music. Tomato, tomato.
Either way, this title is a big old mouthful to chew off. And pitchfork certainly has a rep for knowing music. While good for a couple hours of listening/time wasting at the very least, in my humble opinion, results are mixed. It’s got a bit of column A (good), bit of column B (bad), and a lot column C (meh). They definitely nail a bunch, with hands-down, all-time classics like Boards of Canada, Autechre, and Aphex Twin. But a lot of it kinda goes into the filler, “navel gazing” bin. Which of course, as a musician, I like.
And hey, it’s good to open the ears. And you’ve got to write copy. And most of all, it’s always hard to make a playlist. Of any kind. In any genre. For any one. Much less one that even comes close to nailing a top 50. Of anything. So kudos for trying Pitchfork. Not sure I’d even have 15 I could list off with a gun to my head. Tomato, tomato.