Raised in hip-hop, AraabMuzik has his own spin on the remix as a musical form. Touted for his MPC talents, the 24-year-old producer born Abraham Orellana prefers to chop tracks and build up new beats from their elemental remnants. To begin his debut mix for Ultra Records, The Remixes Vol. 1, Orellana’s remixes of Steve Aoki’s ”Cudi the Kid” and Mt. Eden’s “Sierra Leone” use only the original tracks’ respective intros, turning them into nearly weightless slow-burners. It’s a style in great contrast to his edit of Skrillex’ remix of Benny Benassi’s “Cinema”, a track which skyrocketed the producer up the dubstep ranks in 2012 and also finds its way onto this release.
For a compilation spanning just 11 tracks, the inclusion of two Wolfgang Gartner selections (“Still My Baby” and “Cognitive Dissonance”) seems inept. The remix of “Cognitive Dissonance” is a halfhearted attempt to mash Gartner’s synth runs with the demonic underpinning of AraabMuzik originals, and adds further proof that the producer still needs to find his own melodic voice. AraabMuzik has an ear for ambient arrangements, as his edit of the Bloody Beetroots and Greta Svabo Bech’s “Chronicles of a Fallen Love” attests; however, repeatedly during the disc he’s handcuffed to his disjointed, bottom-end production tactics. The new version of “Darkside” does temporarily break that bondage, though, creating a subterranean sonic tunnel with an ethereal mid-level percussive arrangement that pulls one through the murk toward its abrupt conclusion.
Likely prompted by Ultra Records, The Remixes Vol. 1 is much more of a marketing tool for the imprint than a career highlight for Araab. Also home to Cypress Hill producer DJ Muggs, Ultra is actively pursuing the convergence of EDM and hip-hop, and Orellana has already been a major player in that scene. Now, let’s see if Araab can find the right MCs and test how his new sonic palette can cross back over to the hip-hop community.
Essential Tracks: “Cudi the Kid (AraabMuzik Remix)”, “Darkside”