Mozart Goes Hip Hop with Grammy Winner Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
Secret Agent 23 Skidoo's new EP, Mozartistic, breaks new ground in blending symphonic music with hip hop technique. Produced by 2017 Grammy winner Secret Agent 23 Skidoo and recorded with highly respected pianist Orion Weiss, DJ Marley Carroll and the entire cast of Asheville Symphony, Mozartistic combines the rich and deep strains of classical with the boom bap drums of classic hip hop. The Mozartistic EP debuted as part of the Asheville Amadeus Festival, an Asheville community-wide music event celebrating the music and life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
On Mozartistic, the unusual recipe of orchestra matched with drum machines, drum set, record scratching and sophisticated rhyming create flavors irresistible to youth more used to the radio than the theater. More than just layering together the sounds of two very different cultures, Mozartistic combines them at a cellular level, even crafting an unorthodox technique to make a string quartet mimic the sound of record scratching. By re-contextualizing the sounds, stories and compositions of the classical tradition with a modern feel, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo builds a bridge for new listeners to enter.
About the unique partnership, the Asheville Symphony's Executive Director, David Whitehill said "The Mozartistic album provided us each with the opportunity to create something really unique and dive into each other's worlds of classical music, hip-hop and children's music. The album is also an opportunity to tell Mozart's story and share this wonderful message for kids that everyone has their own inner prodigy and we all have something special inside of us." Secret Agent 23 Skidoo added "By combining Mozart's music and the story of his youth with hip hop we hope to reach new ears with the timeless message that talent can be awakened and its gifts of beauty and love shared with the world."
"Mozartistic", the title track, is a lush and funky take on the story of young Wolfgang. As a child prodigy, young Mozart toured across Europe with his sister and father, not only performing for the locals but often besting them in improvisational competitions as well. This became the creative window into this unique song. A high energy, raucous reframing of Mozart's most famous works in hip hop format provides the backbeat for rhymes telling his story, relating it to an audience of kids who may themselves be dormant prodigies. The motivation to focus and practice what you love is rooted by the contagious hook, a call and response chorus of "Who is the Mozartistic?" "I AM THE MOZARTISTIC!"
Also on the EP are Orion Weiss' thrilling rendition of "The Turkish March" and "Supersonic Symphonic", a track created by sampling and looping pieces of Orion's solo recording and building it up with drum machine, timpani, and the full string and brass sections of Asheville Symphony. "Supersonic Symphonic" is then laced with lyrics that compare the merging of disparate sounds into a functioning orchestra with the merging of disparate people into a functioning society, underlining the need for acceptance of different perspectives and feelings.
Finally, an instrumental version of "Mozartistic" and and an addictive remix of "Supersonic Symphonic" by DJ Marley Carroll round out the album, hitting all ends of the spectrum between classical and classic hip hop. This is the first step into a blend of cultures that is rich with possibility, and for 23 Skidoo, it won't be the last.
"Mozartistic" went to #1 at Sirius XM's Kids Place Live and spent 5 weeks at the top of the chart. Kenny Curtis, Music Director at the station said "Secret Agent 23 Skidoo always brings the fun(k). Every song has a new twist, a different take, another point of view - all framed in 100% unapologetic contemporary hip-hop for kids and families. Mozartistic may be his masterpiece. This isn't just simple "sampling" . The juxtaposition of styles (record scratches with violin strings, tympani with back beats) works seamlessly with the melodies, as opposed to fighting against them. The result is something new and vibrant; a new way for kids to experience and understand some of the greatest melodies in history."
Secret Agent 23 Skidoo is a 2017 Grammy winner that has racked up ten #1 hits on Sirius/XM global satellite radio, and has received glowing reviews in TIME, USA Today, People, and on NPR's "All Things Considered". He tours internationally, and has rocked sets at New Delhi's Buddy Daddy Family Bash, The Winnipeg Folk Festival, Lollapalooza, The Smithsonian and many more. He has released 6 studio albums, a live album, and 2 books, and has produced the music for the US Library System Summer Reading Program's TV commercials for 5 years, as well as serving as its NY state official spokesman for 2 years. An animated film titled I.F. based on 23 Skidoo's hit song "Imaginary Friend "is currently in production with Jeremy Renner's The Combine studio. Secret Agent 23 Skidoo travels constantly, rocks shows, teaches rhyme writing workshops, produces weird funkiness, smiles often, and generally has a good time.
Over the course of the past decades, the Asheville Symphony has achieved unprecedented levels of artistic excellence, creative programming, audience engagement, and community involvement. Since the Symphony's founding in 1960, they have grown to serve more than 40,000 of the region's music lovers each year with performances, community programming and music education for youth. Their seven Masterworks concerts each year, as well as a holiday concert and a choral concert, are each attended by 1900-2100 loyal and enthusiastic audience members. Asheville Symphony also offers the community a full roster of education and youth programs supported by a 400-member volunteer Guild and high school volunteers, the Symphonettes. Other programs under the Symphony's umbrella include the Asheville Symphony Youth Orchestra and the Asheville Symphony Chorus.