By Mochilla | January 1, 2010

Timeless describes moments outside of time- moments that exist so deep inside history that they break through that finite grid. Timeless: The Composer/Arranger Series is an homage to the composer-arrangers that have influenced hip-hop in the most literal and profound ways.

The creative center of popular music today is the beatmaker-producer. Whether it is Timbaland, Dilla, Dre, or Madlib, these musicians have an uncanny sense for voicings, a penchant for unusual sounds and catchy rhythms and a magical ability to manufacture a good performance. Today’s beatmakers are the direct descendants of yesterday’s composer-arrangers. Their processes—whether it be writing a memorable line for background singers or finding the appropriate moment for a baritone harmonica – mirror those of today’s musicians. The composer-arranger creates music through the frame of the bigger picture, often more concerned with how things sound together than individually. Similarly today’s beatmakers produce music on a grand scale, but through automation and sampling.

Timeless brings these two seemingly unlike worlds together. The series honors the musical legacies of some of the greatest composer-arrangers ever. Timeless celebrates the work of the composer-arranger in the context it should be seen-with full orchestras.

From Mulatu Astatke to J. Dilla to Arthur Verocai, the Timeless Concert Series touched upon the works of three musical giants. Mochilla is proud to announce the March 30th, 2010 release date of the Timeless Concert Series, a 3 DVD box set with a special downloadable audio portion. The box set will be an extremely limited and numbered edition of 4,000, which will include full liner notes, a free poster exclusive only to the box set, extra features, songs, and slideshows of images used in the presentation. To mark the launch of the DVD, there will be a series of events scheduled around its release, including a SXSW screening. Stay tuned here to The Sounds of VTech for more.

Mulatu Astatke:

Headlining the first concert in the Timeless series was the beginning of a big year for Mulatu Astatke. His recent collaboration with the Heliocentrics has made it on many people’s “Best of List,” for 2009. The anthology of his work, New York-Addis-London: The Story of Ethio Jazz 1965-1975, the first comprehensive collection of his work was a big success for Strut Records. On February 1st, he blessed the Luckman Auditorium with an amazing show. He shared the stage with Los Angeles jazz scene veterans Bennie Maupin, Azar Lawrence, and Phil Ranelin. The performance is beautiful, showcasing many classics as well as some new material. The music was mixed by Los Angeles engineer Benjamin Tierney and UK producer/musician, Will “Quantic” Holland.

Mulatu is currently touring Europe with the Heliocentrics and is still talking about the Timeless concert.

Suite For Ma Dukes:

Timeless II celebrated the music of hip-hop producer, James “J. Dilla” Yancey. Composed and arranged for a 60-piece orchestra by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, the concert featured special guests Bilal, Dwele, Posdnuos (De La Soul), Talib Kweli, and more. This premiere performance is still buzzing in the minds of many, unable to shake the magic of that evening.

The music was mixed and mastered by legendary Grammy award-winning producer/mixer Bob Power. Power is the man behind hundreds of pop and jazz recordings. He’s worked with such artists as Erykah Badu, D’Angelo, India.Arie, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, and even more significantly, with Dilla. Bob rarely works on smaller independent projects like this, but was so impressed with Miguel’s music that he blessed this collaboration with an epic mix.

We are premiering “Take Notice” today with Bob’s mix.

In related news, on February 6th, 2010, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony will be perform four of Miguel’s arrangements of Dilla in a tribute to great American composers. Dilla will be honored right along side George Gershwin, William Grant Still, and Duke Ellington. Only Timeless could have made this happen. Deepest congratulations to Miguel and Dilla.

Arthur Verocai:

Timeless III saw Arthur Verocai make his very first trip to Los Angeles to perform his seminal 1972 record for a capacity audience at the Luckman. The performance brought the crowd to a stand still. According to Verocai, “I never played the record, alive or dead!” and hid the record from his family because “of his disappointment at its failure during the 70s.” His utter delight at the opportunity to play this music in its complete form can be seen in the DVD. He has subsequently been offered an opportunity to do the concert again in London. Stay tuned.

The music was mixed by Verocai himself in Rio de Janeiro. He was so excited with the final result that he held a private screening of the concert at the beginning of December and invited the Carioca music community.

Three different shows with three different producers/arrangers and three different styles of extraordinary music presented. For those who attended, the Timeless Series was that of magic, love, and music that penetrated the soul. With the box set, those who weren’t able to attend will now understand what everyone has been talking about. And for those who have, a chance to relive music history all over again.

The Sounds of VTech / Suite For Ma Dukes: Take Notice