Music Reviews

East Flatbush Project

Tried by 12

Ninja Tune/Chocolate Industries

A lot has been written lately about the ascendancy of cutting and remixing as a musical aesthetic, and of the use of recording studio itself as a musical instrument. Of course, more often than not, the remixes we end up hearing are house versions of mid-‘80s pop-rock ballads or the ever-popular “extended dance remix.” The Tried by 12 album by East Flatbush Project, however, is a refreshingly creative antidote to this bland dancefloor fodder. The first track features the original cut of “Tried by 12,” performed by the original members of East Flatbush, a collective of underground hip-hop producers and MCs. The original cut features a morbid rap focused on the legal and emotional implications of death and murder. A haunting koto (Japanese harp) theme repeats throughout, providing a solemnly funky groove. The following nine tracks, however, feature remixes of the original that often take the original in radically different directions. The musicians responsible for the new versions include such electronic luminaries as Squarepusher, Autechre, the Herbalizer, and Trapazoid. Their mutations of the original all take different tacks. Some leave the rap intact, others turn it into a purely rhythmical element. The twangy koto theme is sometimes kept in, other times its sound is mimicked by other instruments. The Tried by 12 project shows the possibilities inherent in skilled remixing work, as well as the oft-ignored relationship between emerging contemporary electronic music and hardcore hip-hop. Ninja Tune, 1751 Richardson, Suite 6109, Montreal, Quebec H3K1G6 CANADA; http://www.ninjatune.net


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