Published Mar 27, 2019In 2017, French graphic artist Stéphane Carricondo turned his talents to a series of hip-hop portraits, a creative happening that went on to inspire Orlando Díaz, also known as Medline. The latter, a French-Chilean crate-digger and multi-instrumentalist beat-maker who founded the My Bags label in 2013, released an album of library music covers in 2018 called Solstice, so it made too much cosmic sense for Medline to follow that up with interpretations of A Tribe Called Quest.
Naturally, the cover art for A Quest Called Tribe is all Carricondo. It features four stylized drawing of the original Tribe lineup, utilizing a sort of wireframe approach seemingly conjured out of drunken sacred geometry, but intended to portray their "soul map." Matching the love shown by the art, Díaz paid tribute to the masters through his medium, groovy fusion jazz-funk.
Medline's compositions blend the beats and flow of Tribe with clear homages to the creators of the source material they sampled. Meanwhile, Díaz can't help but inject a bit of himself in there too, with his particularly keen sense of rhythm, orchestration and improvisation. This was an intentional choice, to pay homage to the past, present, and future of this revolutionary music.
A Quest Called Tribe is not a sterile repackaging or pure indulgence. It succeeds as fresh takes on classics, injecting new perspective into old forms that pay inspiration forward. It is timeless. Highly recommended for fans of Brownout's Public Enemy tribute, 2018's Fear of a Brown Planet, and the Wu-Tang Clan covers albums by El Michels Affair. (My Bags)