Rob Swift

The Architect

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With public interest in turntablism peaking in the late ‘90s, and computer software taking over as the primary instrument for beatmakers, there didn’t seem to be much demand for a turntablist’s album by the time of The Architect's release in 2010. However, Rob Swift is too much of a forward thinker to be concerned by popular trends. When his girlfriend introduced him to classical music in June of 2008, he stowed away his collection of jazz vinyl and turned toward Bach and Mozart for inspiration. The first half of his first release after four years focuses primarily on beat-juggling AOR instrumentals -- with Breez Evahflowin rapping on only two tracks, “Principio” and its reprise, “Ultimo” -- but at the album's midpoint, eerie symphonic arrangements and film score snippets are introduced to transcend hip-hop boundaries. “Spartacuts” finds the DJ stutter-scratching the opening bars of Night at Bald Mountain (by Mussorgsky and used in Disney’s Fantasia, for you classical novices) over a hard-cracking breakbeat, and the often recycled Zeppelin's "Going to California" drum riff battles with tense string sections and rapid-fire crossfader handling in "Lower Level: 2nd Movement." While the orchestral concept is interesting enough -- with recurring motifs, three-part movements, and an intermission -- the true treat is how Swift handles the wheels of steel. The beats are rock-solid and the scratching is that of a true pro: articulate and supplemental rather than flashy. Consider this a perfect phase two for one of the greats.

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