In a night celebrating five years of gigs by Madnice, Getintothis’ Graeme Watt saw the Abstract Orchestra bring the music of J Dilla to life.
No matter how many YouTube performances you may have seen of the Abstract Orchestra, nothing could possibly prepare you for the 16 piece orchestra playing to a sold out 24 Kitchen Street.
There is no question of the impression J Dilla left on hip hop, working with some of the scene’s biggest names and groups such as De la Soul, Common and Madlib, yet it’s hard to put in to words just how important he was, entirely because his legacy cannot be put into words. Despite not personally being able to put into words what Dilla meant to me, I’m pretty sure the Abstract Orchestra showed what Dilla means to hip hop through their performance, with careful track selection, picking out some of J Dilla‘s most loved tracks and executing them to perfection, each track immediately recognisable.
The 16 piece orchestra opened their set with arguably J Dilla‘s best track, aptly named Nothing Like This described by the hip hop community and the orchestra themselves as ‘real live shit‘ which the audience reacted to straight away, as expected. Throughout the set the Abstract Orchestra seemed to capture every element in Jay‘s tracks, ranging from the psychedelic to Boom Bap heavy percussion, giving us the ‘from the cassette’ vibes Dilla intended.
Opening the night was the reliable No Fakin DJs, always coming correct whether it’s their night, or in support, setting the scene with tracks from A Tribe Called Quest’s recently released album, keeping it fresh, and throwing it back as far as 89 with sounds from Biz Markie. No Fakin made the transitions from hip hop as a genre to the genre bending expected from the Abstract Orchestra while spinning tracks from some of J Dilla‘s biggest inspirations, not neglecting the heavy jazz and funk influences heard in Dilla‘s music.
The night was seen out by highly regarded NYC DJ Ge Ology, with the skill and experience to take us from the jazz of Dilla into the night. His knowledge of tracks was noticable within minutes providing the vibes to get people dancing, spinning plenty of his own tracks like his most recent club hit Moon Circuitry, and fitting in others from some of the biggest artists such as Mos Def, a real crowd-pleaser.
A night of celebration for Madnice five Year anniversary, and a suitable tribute to J Dilla, leaving everyone dancing.
Pictures by Getintothis’ Amy Faith.