Big Ups With Rob Mitchell From Abstract Orchestra

Name, Location, What You Do:
Abstract Orchestra, Leeds/London, a hip hop big band that reimagines classic work, collaborates with current artists and creates original work.

Quincy Jones, Thad Jones, Bob Brookmeyer, Lalo Schifrin, Henry Mancini, David Shire, David Axelrod, Madlib, J Dilla, MF Doom, A Tribe Called Quest, Kenny Wheeler, Freddie Hubbard, Karriem Riggins, De La Soul, Slum Village, Wu Tang Clan…..the list could go on.

Favorite Records at the Moment:
I know it’s been out a while (and bought it on the release day) but the last Tribe album still blows me away, it’s perfect. Same with Thundercat’s Drunk, such a good album, seen him live a few times and an incredible musician!! Bishop Nerhu Elevators Act I&II is killer, love his flow and beats!! Czarface meets Metal Face….dark, heavy and on repeat!!

Best Digging Story:
It’s probably about 20 years ago, digging in a now closed store in Hyde Park, Leeds with my mate Adrian. I found Weekend in L.A by George Benson and was buzzing. Unfortunately we had a case of “I saw it first” and argued like children….till I bought the record!! He still comes round and plays it and says “should have been mine…” still makes me laugh….and still a great record!!

Favorite Mix and Why. Any Genre, Any DJ.
That’s so difficult to answer, I love different mixes for different reasons. ‘Off the Wall’ cos it’s such a ‘dry’ album in terms of reverb…’s tight and banging because of it. I use reverb for space in the stereo field but hate a long tail on it, especially when you can hear zeros and ones doing a poor job!! So many Dilla joints, the way he makes his drums knock is difficult to comprehend, let’s say ‘Requiem’, ‘E=MC2’ or ‘DD.007’.

LP, 12”, or 7” format?
LP12 for me! I enjoy listening to a complete album and for me the artistry of shaping an album and its contour through track choice is very important, and can tell a story and take the listener on a journey. Don’t get me wrong I do love 45 bangers!!

Junk Food You Can’t Live Without:
I’m partial to a Pringle!!

Most Memorable Gig Played:
With Abstract there’s been a few great ones that stand out!! Supporting Yasiin Bey at Leeds O2 was pretty special, the crowd were full on and so supportive! The tour we did with Illa J earlier this year was also pretty special, The Belgrave, again in Leeds was off the hook!!! As a sideman (sax) I’ve had a few memorable ones, the biggest was with Rag’n’bone man at Glastonbury last year….quite a few folk there and live on the BBC….wasn’t too nervous!

Record That Never Leaves Your Record Box:
Record(s): Slum Village Fantastic Vol.2, Slum Village Yes, Miles Davis Miles Ahead, Quincy Jones The Dude, Donny Hathaway Live, J Dilla Jay Love Japan, J Dilla The Shinning, John Coltrane Crescent, A Tribe Called Quest – all, De La Soul The Grind Date, Madlib Medicine Show #5, Frank Zappa Roxy & Elsewhere. (I could go on!)

Shout Outs, Last Remarks, and Gig Info:
Shout out to ATA Records for putting the albums out, to Gilles Peterson and Huey on 6 music for their support, Sam and the crew at Diplomats of Sound, the band, our listeners and audience! Please support our music by checking us out, following us on socials, sharing, buying or coming to a gig! We’re planning a tour early next year, keep an eye on socials for info!!!

Dig Deeper!

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