Madvillain Remixes by Abstract Orchestra & Ghost Life - ATA Records [ATA029] FLAC download included with physical items

Madvillain Remixes

A 10 track jazz rap/hip-hop album (37m 58s) — released April 7th 2023 on ATA Records

Trying to put the enigmatic producer Ghost Life into words is no easy feat, for a start very few people have ever met him. Many people will, of course, fill your head with tall Ghost Life tales; what hat he favours on a Wednesday, his love of the Dewey Decimal system, his aversion to large peas.

Time to call bullshit on all these theories. Best way to describe Ghost Life is Kyser Soze with a keyboard, minus all the criminal bits, an anonymous tactitian with an ear for a woozy beat. He may indeed have been the source of the above tall tales, writer of his own fiction, if you will.

It is perhaps then fitting that he should be pulled towards another artist who spent much of his career sowing the seeds of doubt in regard to his own identity, the much-lamented MF Doom. Respected rapper Doom not only hid his face from the public but was also well known for releasing music under a raft of different monikers adding further mystery to a canon of work that had reached a legendary status before his untimely death in 2020, and after.

In this instance it is Doom's collaborations with Madlib, resulting in the 2004 ground-breaking album Madvillainy, that got Ghost Life's remix reflex twitching.

He decided to further ramp up the subterfuge (this is dream within a dream stuff) and remix some choice cuts from Abstract Orchestra's interpretation of the record.

For those who don't know, Abstract Orchestra, led by saxophonist Rob Mitchell, are based on the classic jazz big band instrumentation of saxes, trumpets and trombones and feature the cream of the north's jazz scene.

When you dig into Madvillainy you will note many of the samples (Sun Ra, Bill Evans, Freddie Hubbard amongst others) lent a jazz oriented feel to the record, an ethos that, in turn, lent itself perfectly to the deconstruction and re-imagining by Abstract.

Ghost Life wanted peel back the next layer of this onion and, inspired by Kaytranada's organic synthesis of the hip hop aesthetic among slightly higher BPMs, Ghost Life began to pick tracks from Abstract's Madvillain 1 and 2 to play around with.

This was all done above board of course. He made contact with Rob who was so intrigued by what Ghost Life sketched out that handed over the original stems with his blessing. This meet was around mid 2020 and Rob admitted he had forgotten all about it until his inbox started pinging in the summer of 2022.

All in all Ghost Life remixed 10 tracks, including "Raid", "Fancy Clown", "Curls", and "Figaro", and has forgone the big arrangements. Rather he has coaxed out hooks, and sampled small sections, dipping into Abstract Orchestra's work with the steady precision of a watchmaker to create something new and exciting.

"Raid" becomes a piano led stepper, bubbling away in your headspace, ready to be unleashed as a gift to those who have danced through the night and deserve a sliver of sun.

"Fancy Clown" is a woozy affair making strong use of Anna Uhuru's vocals from the Abstract LP, really deserves to be heard on a big system.

"Eye" works up into one of the paciest tracks on this record but have no fear we are still shuffling. There are some strong Acid Jazz flavours at play here.

"Accordian", choppy, funky and tempo tricky, but catchy as owt, no doubt this will be appearing on a lot of mixes.

"Curls", wonky brass and a seriously buttery mesh to make a really chunky sound, snappy but again mega leisurely, tweaked hip hop.

'Bistro", a lush sampled bassline anchors this balaeric groover to the ground; your head will still be in the clouds though.

"Borrowed Time", heavy hip hop beat with a vocal weaving around lures you in until some heavy speaker worrying bass sets you on another path. Again, one for big system.

"Fire in the Hole", chiming and hypnotic, ethereal and addictive.

"Figaro", sinister, futuristic funk with neck snapping drum beats, this is the theme tune for a cop show a blade runner would watch

"Fluid", uplifting clubby vocal track, definitely the one to put on if you've just got a promotion, or you have job interview.

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