Rob Mitchell reinterprets hip-hop with Abstract Orchestra

Rob Mitchell reinterprets hip-hop with Abstract Orchestra
L to R: Young RJ, T3 and Rob Mitchell (Photo credit: [email protected])

Rob Mitchell is the creator, composer, music director and producer of the Abstract Orchestra. The Abstract Orchestra lives in the spirit of hip-hop culture and reimagines samples, and covers songs by producers like Madlib and J Dilla in the context of a live band. Mitchell and the Abstract Orchestra will be celebrating the 20th year of one of rap’s most classic albums, Fantastic Vol 2 by Slum Village, with a tour of the U.K. Rolling out spoke with Mitchell about his covers, Abstract Orchestra’s goal and what fans can expect from the tour.  

What is Abstract Orchestra’s goal?

Abstract Orchestra strives to perform hip-hop in a big band context, bringing jazz and soul back from samples and orchestrated into a live performance. 

You have chosen some classic rap albums to cover. Why did you choose Madvillain and Dilla as subjects for your work?

I started where my heart is: hip-hop. The artists I’ve chosen are the ones I love to listen to and am passionate about. They also lend themselves perfectly to the sort of translation process or reinterpretation into a big band situation. Their music has soul, and music with soul will always stand up to any kind of reinterpretation because the original idea or sound is beautiful and so powerful, that people will always get it and connect with it. 

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