Release Date - 24th May 2019
Led by Saxophonist Rob Mitchell, Abstract Orchestra have been a consistent presence on the u.k. music scene, touring constantly in the 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.
"Madvillain Vol. 2" follows on from the 2018 release "Madvillain vol. 1" and further explores the jazz, TV soundtrack and film score aspect of the original work, combining it with classic big band writing and a focus on improvisation. As with vol 1. there is a strong influence of Quincy Jones, Lalo Schifrin and David Shire(Composer of the soundtrack to The Taking of Pelham 123) on the album, and the arranger Rob Mitchell crafts his own sound that inhabits the space between Madlib's production and Quincy Jones' writing.
As a bonus track to the album, Abstract reworks Dabrye's 'Air' and have included the original vocal of MF DOOM. Dabrye's original is heavily soaked in synths and drum machines, with an almost sci-fi, Blade Runner or Tron-esque sound . Mitchell explores this further and is influenced by Bob Brookmeyer's late work 'Electricity', which explores synths and jazz orchestration.
Madvillain Vol. 2 will build on the success of vol. 1 which received enormous support from Gilles Peterson & Huey Morgan on BBC6 Music as well as numerous airplay on Worlwide FM and Jazz FM, and reviews from soulbag in France and ukvibe, qwest.tv, and vinyl district online.
01. Mash Up 1
02. Meat Grinder
05. Can't Reform 'Em
06. Madmix 3
07. Mash Up 2
08. Rhinestone Cowboy
09. Fire in the Hole
11. Borrowed Time
12. Operation Lifesaver
13. Air (Abstract Orchestra Remix) [feat. MF DOOM]
Release Date 26th April 2019
The Mandatory Eight first appeared on the compilation "Funk, Soul & Afro Rarities: An Intro To ATA Records" released in 2015 on Here & Now recordings with the song "Suckerpunch", which has since become the label's most requested song for re-release as a 45. ATA have dug deep in the archives to unearth two dance-tempo 45 killers to placate the calls until studio time is allotted to the band for a debut album.
The band's sound and ideology definitely lies in less refined eclectic soul. Feel over precision, passion over execution, soul-on-a-budget grooves.
From the opening drum pick up of "Soul Fanfare #3" it is clear that The Mandatory 8 are here to make you move. With proud horn lines reminiscent of something that you might find in the Stax vaults, Soul Fanfare definitely takes it's lead from backing bands such as the Barkays and the funkier side of Booker T and the MGs. One can imagine that this was definitely a set opener for the group, guaranteed to put foot to floor. Guitar and bass have a care free movement and feel, conjuring up tones of late 60's summer soul hits.
The B-side "Turn It Out" has a darker, moodier feel to the previous side. Still a dance floor filling groove, the band take a direction more similar to below the radar funk outfits such as Amnesty or LA carnival. Biting minor horn lines set the tone backed by a bubbling bed of congas, rhythm guitar, unruly bass and drums which don't dip below boiling for the duration. "Turn It Out" features a manzarek-esque farfisa organ solo which sets the sonic tone of a band without funds but with plenty of soul in the bank.
Both sides will reflect well for different moods on the same dance floor.
a. Soul Fanfare #3
b. Turn It Out