At first glance, the marriage of hip-hop with classical music might not seem the most likely of pairings. But within the world of turntablism, it's actually not without ample precedent. The Invisible Scratch Piklz were long experimenting with the idea of a DJ crew as orchestra; instead of doing "battle," each member was contributing a scratch instrument to the greater whole (which sometimes even included classical or orchestral soundtrack covers). Ditto for Rob Swift with the X-Ecutioners, where they also borrowed some ideas from operatic structure — a concept record with featured songs (or "arias") interspersed with skits and samples (or "recitative") — to a scratch album format.
So the idea of Rob Swift mining classical music samples as the primary focus for his latest project, The Architect, doesn't seem so far-fetched. And in many ways, it works quite well. The album is divided into acts: an introductory section, followed by the "Rabia" act, then an intermission, a "Lower Level" section, and then the outro grouping. Individual tracks remain mostly very brief (so don't let the eighteen total tracks make you think this is going to be long-winded), and generally flow into one another. It's also mostly instrumental — with the exception of brief samples entering in — apart from two tracks featuring Breez Evahflown. Breez serves as MC, not only in the hip-hop sense, but in an event sense. His contributions bookend The Architect as he both welcomes you to the proceedings and concludes the festivities.
The primary introductions are provided courtesy of Swift in the title track, where the concept is explained courtesy of samples; and then with Evahflown in "Principio," which is more of an ode to Swift's abilities and the art form. From there we move on to the "Rabia" tracks, which are some of the most active on the record. They incorporate everything from strings, Hammond organ and some pretty tight-knit scratch acrobatics. The sound here (but also throughout the album) is left to minor keys, which can sometimes cast a menacing edge, as it's more or less used exclusively (especially when bumped up against the rather dissonant "Intermission"). The "Lower Level" tracks dial the tempo down a bit and come off as slightly more experimental. Exotic percussion and horn lines intermingle with some deep beats here, and it's an enjoyable excursion into the darker side of the album's concept.