OG Trance?

29 December 2012 | 3:21 pm | Cyclone Wehner

"Pretty much I just wanna take it to the movies – soundtracks and scoring – and doing stuff for video games and commercials and stuff like that."

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Some producers prefer their music to do the talking. AraabMUZIK (AKA Abraham Orellana), architect of 2011's gangsta trance (or gabba!) Electronic Dream, has delayed his interview schedule for hours, ostensibly being in transit. But, when he finally takes the call, it's obvious he'd rather be doing anything else. However, the beatmaker warms up, divulging his future plans.

The native of Providence, Rhode Island, is headed to Australia on his second tour, initially coming last February for three dates. "It was cool, you know – fun," he mumbles.

Orellana – of Dominican and Guatemalan descent, and with his mother a sometime singer – was drumming at three, soon progressing to the keyboard. He'd harness a computer and, crucially, the MPC drum machine-cum-sampler to produce hip hop, influenced by Dr Dre, Swizz Beatz and The Alchemist. Orellana joined New York's Diplomats (or Dipset) fold, circa 2006. He cut beats for Cam'ron, notably masterminding his overground hit Get It In Ohio.

The New England city of Providence isn't usually equated with urban music, though it has given us Sage Francis and 2000s R&B singer Blu Cantrell of Hit 'Em Up Style (Oops!) and Breathe fame, not to mention Jersey Shore DJ Pauly D. Yet that relative isolation enabled Orellana to "focus" on production. "There's not really much going on," he says. Orellana still resides there. He's not tempted to relocate? "Nah, not at the moment," he replies. Dude hasn't even been pressured to by management, then? "Nah, nah, nah – I don't have to move anywhere to do what I gotta do," Orellana laughs. Removed from the rap race, he's also developed his own style. "It's real different – it's just hustle music... It can be defined a lot of different ways, 'cause it's more than one sound bunched in one, so that's what makes the music so unique and so different. You don't know what to call it."

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Orellana really generated heat with the unintentionally ironic digital album (or mixtape) Electronic Dream, sampling the likes of OceanLab (AKA Above & Beyond), Jam & Spoon, and Ian van Dahl. It scraped into Pitchfork's Top 50 Albums Of 2011. Orellana had started randomly listening to dance, mostly trance, "a couple of years ago." "Me being a musician, I like to hear a lot of different types of stuff. So I kind of decided to mix dance with hip hop – so that's where it all began. I decided to do a whole little mixtape or EP of just that type of stuff – and that's when Electronic Dream came about."

Orellana has had an especially fruitful 2012. He produced 50 Cent's mixtape number Murder One (featuring Eminem) and Slaughterhouse's Hammer Dance (alongside Eminem in Detroit). Azealia Banks sampled his Dipset joint Salute on her Fantasea mixtape and Orellana produced Succubi – the Harlem femcee's diss of, provocatively, Dipseter Jim Jones. Will he work with Ms Banks again? "Yeah, definitely – we're still working on more stuff, so look out for all of that."

Orellana belongs to a new crop of producers reconfiguring electronic and urban. His Aussie tour buddy Hudson Mohawke is another. Nevertheless, Orellana feels no affinity with other beatmakers. "I just focus on what I got going on," he says. But he does envisage the worlds of EDM and hip hop becoming more entangled, boom-bap rap now retro. "If anything, dubstep is pretty much just taking over right now."

Orellana is vague about any production gigs on the go. "Um, let me see – I've been working with a lot of other artists and stuff," he ponders. "I've been churning a lot of music out but, as far as projects and people I'm working with, I don't know 'cause it's like I've been doing a lot more shows and performing than actual recording and being able to work with people lately. So right now it's kinda like me sending music out to a lot of people, seeing if they're gonna use anything for their albums." He "definitely" plans a full album in 2013. His ultimate ambition? "Pretty much I just wanna take it to the movies – soundtracks and scoring – and doing stuff for video games and commercials and stuff like that."

A now almost gregarious Orellana, who performs live utilising that MPC, promises a "really energetic" set at festivals this summer (he appeared at 2012's Coachella, after all). "That's pretty much what the show is about – just keeping the hype going, from start to finish."

AraabMUZIK plays:

Tuesday 1 January - Summadayze, Melbourne
Tuesday 1 January - Field Day, Sydney
Saturday 5 January - Summafieldayze, Gold Coast
Sunday 6 January - Summadayze, Perth