(Cover Photo By Cognito-Culture Capture Champs© Design By Jelizen for Frolab)
The REcstatic [pronounced “Re – Ecstatic”], available now as a free full-album download only via Mon Dieu Music , is a stunning audio re-telling of the 2009 Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) album The Ecstatic.
Serving for the better part of the past decade as tour DJ and in-house producer for Yasiin Bey, Preservation is the logical fit to take on the mission of remixing The Ecstatic from top to bottom, in no small part because he produced three of the original album’s tracks. The result is 16 songs – with their original vocals – that meticulously meditate on the original beats and samples of the album, bringing new sounds to a new decade.
Preservation, as Bey’s tour DJ for the past eight years, knows The Ecstatic inside and out, and he pays respect to his original producer peers including Madlib, Dilla and Oh-No by finding samples in the same vein as those used originally. He considers the soul and source of each track in each reworking. Preservation’s remix of the Bey / Kweli track, “History,” for example, pays tribute to the late, great J. Dilla by digging up and utilizing an alternate male vocal version of “Two Lovers History.”
Having traveled with Bey during the making of 2009’s The Ecstatic – Preservation has been equally influenced by a range of world sounds as exhibited in his new versions of the tracks “Quiet Dog Bite Hard” utilizing the forro rhythm of north-eastern Brazil and “Auditorium”’s collage of various Indian samples. Interestingly, the “Auditorium” remix is currently being performed live as part of Yasiin Bey’s shows.
The masterful remixing provides another chance to experience the original vocals, plus a window into the skill and production talents of Preservation. The REcstatic was one year in the making, mixed and mastered by Jan Fairchild, who also mixed the original release.
Preservation explains the process: “The project started as a slow build with a few songs and then it become a challenge to do them all. Because it was a sample-based album, I wanted to keep the remixes sample-based and for them to have the same pitch, key and tone as the originals. The original beats were non-traditional and the amount of singing made it very difficult to remix with this intention of the same energy. It’s the result of countless hours of digging through records to sample, constructing the beat, wrapping it around the vocal, adjusting the tempo, and so on. ‘Quiet Dog Bite Hard’ was exciting because I was remixing my own track and it drew me into the process, and ‘Workers Comp’ was the most unique due to its complex time signature.”
Of special note, rounding out the album is “Black Fantastic,” a never-before-heard alternate track to The Ecstatic’s final cut, “Casa Bey.” It’s the only track that Preservation did not remix here; instead he releases an early version of Yasiin Bey’s vocal on a track produced by Minnesota (Money Boss Players). The track represents a pre-version that existed before Bey found the perfect accompaniment from Banda Black Rio.
With the remixing tradition in hip-hop fading, this album takes listeners back to the ‘90s, when fans eagerly awaited new remixes from our favorite producers.
The REcstatic will be followed in short order by Preservation’s full-length production debut, Old Numbers, due July 9 on Mon Dieu Music. The album features multiple MCs, including Yasiin Bey, Jean Grae, Edo G, Jemini the Gifted One, Minnesota and more.