Years in the making, Notes From The Underground is an essential and evocative album from acclaimed producers Gone Beyond and Mumbles. The journey began when Cut Chemist enlisted the duo to participate in a 2007 concert series titled Pravda, held at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. The series was a tribute to the Russian classical musicians living under the rule of Joseph Stalin, primarily Mosolov, Shostakovich, and Prokofiev. One night featured DJs and producers incorporating these works into their beats and included the likes of DJ Spooky and Amon Tobin. Gone Beyond and Mumbles spent months scouring through hundreds of recordings from various classical performances and put together five tracks for the show.
Ten years later and the spark of this performance has ignited into a full album, made even more relevant by current events and the socio political atmosphere. Notes from the Underground is named after Dostoyevsky’s classic existential novel, pointing the way to the themes presented by the music. The album is an artistic commentary on the ability of the human spirit to overcome oppression, adversity, and fascism. Gone Beyond and Mumbles have remixed and given a modern, empowered voice to the great composers of Russia who wrote under the yoke of Stalin during the early 20th Century, exposing the struggles and this compelling music to a new generation.
The remarkableness of the project is transmitted in how natural the contemporary beats sound accompanying these vintage compositions. Take “Apropos for the Wet Snow” which uses a melancholy piano motif and flavors it with dusty rhythms, subtle, staccato horn blasts, and echoing soundscapes. Rather than obscuring the feeling of the original piece the production embellishments serve to enhance. “Knight In The Panther’s Skin” is another extraordinary moment, including lush strings, gentle piano, and an operatic vocal over the drums for an, especially dramatic effect.
Gone Beyond and Mumbles previously collaborated on the 2005 album S.E.V.A. for Mush Records and on 2012’s A Duet For Space And Time 10” for The Content Label. Both producers are revered as beat-making legends, with an expressive sonic palette that takes the listener deep into the duo’s mindset. Notes From The Underground is a startling and important document from Gone Beyond and Mumbles, and a welcome return of this collaboration to The Content Label. Hip-hop sampling and remixing is a powerful way to interpret classic themes, and Notes From The Underground is meant to stir the listener toward thought, motivation, and empowerment in these challenging times.
1) The King’s Gambit
2) The Great Purge
3) Knight in a Panther’s Skin
4) Rise of The Proletariat
5) Kremlin Epigram
6) Apropos For The Wet Snow
7) The Czar’s Muse
8) Dances With Death
9) Written With The Heart’s Blood
10) Fall of the Oligarchs
11) Nevsky’s Revenge