Spin Cycle

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Audio Samples: 
Soul Searching, Parts 1 and 2 (1,250.41 kb)
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Transcendence: I. Hold On (1,378.28 kb)
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Infinite Streams II: 1. Breakthrough (1,122.16 kb)
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Second Wind (1,209.13 kb)
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SKU: CD-CMCCD 21215
Call Number: CD 1670
Media Type: CD
Year of Release: 2015
Record Label: Centrediscs / Centredisques

AFIARA QUARTET
featuring Skratch Bastid

JUNO Award Winner: Classical Composition of the Year, 2016 for Dinuk Wijeratne's Two Pop Songs on Antique Poems

JUNO Award Nominee: Instrumental Album of the Year, 2016

East Coast Music Award nominee for Classical Composition of the Year, for Dinuk Wijeratne's Two Pop Songs on Antique Poems

***#8 on Forbes Magazine's Top 10 Classical Recordings of 2015***

***#2 on CBC Music's Top 10 Classical Recordings of 2015***

"...one of the most attention-grabbing concerts of the year: a collaboration between a string quartet, a scratch DJ and four emerging composers." Michael Vincent, The Toronto Star

"...a truly unique series that has to be heard to be believed." - DJ Asma, Music is my Sanctuary

"If you only listen to one collaboration between a string quartet and a hip-hop DJ collab this year—this is the one." - Michael Barclay

"...an intriguing depth and complexity to the final creations which cross a variety of cultural and aesthetic borders." - David Olds, the WholeNote

CLICK HERE to watch the Afiara Quartet and Skratch Bastid perform live on CBC Radio Q.

STAGE ONE: The Quartets
Four of the hottest, young composers in the Canadian scene write new string quartets for the Afiara Quartet (winners of Concert Artists Guild, Banff, and Munich ARD International Competitions and the Szekely Prize for "Best Beethoven Interpretation") as the bedrock of the project, Spin Cycle. All hailing from Toronto, the city’s lauded multicultural elements all co-exist and dialogue off each other. With classical music as a common denominator, the group explores all the different types of music that have influenced individual upbringing, be it pop, reggae, hip hop, world, or other musics.

STAGE TWO: The Remixes
In a specific element of engagement and collaboration, the works are repurposed and re-envisioned by the scratch stylings of renowned DJ Skratch Bastid. Skratch is one of the brightest lights in the scratch DJ scene as a multi-time world champion at the prestigious Scribble Jam competition. His ability to put together different sounds, songs, and genres, and make them into something wholly new is of the rarest talents in his field.

STAGE THREE: The Composer Responses
The idea of remixing is not new, but rarely if ever does the original artist or composer hear a remix and feel inspired to write another verse or bring again something new to the conversation. This true dialoguing of innovation and creation is the third stage of this project. Each composer hears what Skratch Bastid has done and have a chance to “respond” by writing parts for the Afiara to play with (or against) the DJ’s remix. The idea true collaboration coming from true conversation.

CD 1

Dinuk Wijeratne
Two Pop Songs on Antique Poems
1. "A Letter from the After-life” 5:42
2. “I Will Not Let You Go” 8:10

Remix
3. Soul Searching, Parts 1 and 2 (Skratch Bastid Remix) 5:21

Response
4. "Through the Invisible" 5:23

Laura Silberberg
Transcendence
5. Hold On 6:40
6. Let Go 5:12

Remix
7. Dirty Laundry (Skratch Bastid Remix) 4:38

Response
8. Dirty Laundry - Heavy Load 5:06

CD 2

Rob Teehan
Infinite Streams II
1. Breakthrough 4:02
2. In the Garden of My Beloved 5:48
3. The Pursuit 4:32

Remix
4. Stream of Consciousness (Skratch Bastid Remix) 4:07

Response
5. "Ow!" 4:11

Kevin Lau
String Quartet No.3
6. Gliding 5:24
7. Winds of Change 7:48

Remix
8. Skratch my Bach (Skratch Bastid Remix) 4:17

Response
9. Second Wind 5:43

REVIEWS

"This re-mixed, semi-classical, hip-hopping, col legno-beating, pizzicato-plucking, Beethoven-quoting sausage sounds great! It genuinely, organically merges classical music and beat, jam and semi-quavers… in a way that even Gabriel Prokofiev and Max Richter manage only at their very best. I am bopping my head along in seriously uncool fashion as I write this. When I am in need for a pick-me-up other than Bach, this goes in the player where I have been spinning the two discs of SPIN CYCLE more often than any other disc this year." - Forbes, Jens F. Laurson

"It's rare to see the original song published alongside the reinterpretation that samples it, and even rarer to have a document of the original artist responding to that reinterpretation. Having also worked with Kid Koala in the past, the self-described “ensemble for the 21st century” Afiara Quartet aren’t new to pushing the boundaries of classical music." - Chart Attack

"Wijeratne, Silberberg, Teehan, and Lau, all Toronto based composers, were each chosen to bring a different facet of the city’s multicultural music experience to classical compositions. The pieces fluidly blend contemporary and traditional influences, brought to life by Afiara Quartet’s kinetic performances. The quartet’s instruments pump blood through the veins of Silberberg’s “Transcendence II. Let Go”, and inflate the lungs of Teehan’s “Infinite Streams II 1. Breakthrough” with enough air for one long, exhilarating exhale.

Bringing the quartet back into the studio, DJ Skratch Bastid then isolate rhythmic and intricate moments from each piece, has the quartet play them back in isolation, then sets the samples atop thick hip hop beats and his award-winning scratch DJ skills. It’s a metamorphosis that has the potential to go wildly off the rails, but never does. “Soul Searching, Parts 1 and 2”, his remix of Wijeratne’s compositions, kicks off the cultural conversation on Spin Cycle with a mic drop that races your jaw to the ground. By the time Wijeratne, Silberberg, Teehan, and Lau reappear with new pieces influenced by Skratch Bastid’s interpretation of their original work, you’ll find yourself wholly engrossed and joyously tumbling through Spin Cycle, all trepidations about the collaboration levelled.

All punning aside, I feel that The Afiara Quartet and Skratch Bastid have only scratched the surface of what is possible when hip hop and classical music sit down and start talking with each other; Spin Cycle is a conversation that needs–nay must–be continued." Quick Before it Melts

"Never before has classical music been so organically intertwined and comfortable with hip-hop, which confirms the fact of absolute break in patterns and erasing of borders." - Vladimir Shcheblykin, Abstract Hip Hop Music

"The group created a YouTube series of three short videos that document each stage of the collaboration and include snippets of the original composed material with Skratch Bastid’s first cuts. The videos perfectly capture the beautiful, complicated music, and the intensity of the performances. They are as interesting to watch as they are to hear." - Wolfgang's Tonic

"The idea gets major points for being novel, and one hopes to see other artists on both sides of the divide take it up. Here, it is Kevin Lau's String Quartet No. 3 that stands out, with the initial quartet parts themselves incorporating popular influences (including that of metal), and the remix, "Skratch My Bach," picking up on a Bach minuet fragment. It's both more diverse and more closely knitted together than the other pieces, but the entire project is enjoyable and fresh. Recommended for any listener with a degree of speculative frame of mind." - James Manheim, AllMusic.com

"We not only get to hear fascinating and very varied new pieces, but get to witness the evolution of a work right before our very ears. It has never been attempted, and although I am very sceptical of all things mashup and trying to make classical “edgy” I have to say they nailed it. [...] I commend Afiara Quartet for their incredible sound, daring and concrete musical efforts and the way they release their music. Grab some unique pieces for your collection, see them in a town near you but above all, please support this type of innovative talent and musical spirit wherever you see it." - DJ Asma, Music is my Sanctuary

"The success of this album starts with its raw material. The new works that Afiara commissioned for this project — from four emerging Toronto composers — can all stand independently as satisfying pieces of chamber music. But it's the total commitment to that material, from both the Afiara Quartet and DJ Skratch Bastid, that makes Spin Cycle one of the best records of the year." - CBC Music

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