Amid Ultra's Electronic Beats, A String Quartet Plays

Apr 2, 2014

Credit Bernard Hacker

While the EDM and light shows were going off Sunday at Ultra, a string quartet at the Gale Hotel in South Beach played alongside a DJ and composer.

Backed by DJ Benji B and composer Grant Windsor, The Deviation String Quartet from London re-interpreted songs by artists like Drake, Sampha and Pepe Braddock.

The concept started in 2011, when Benji was asked to DJ at the London Eye, the big wheel overlooking the Thames River in London.

“I felt very strongly given this opportunity I didn’t just want to go there and play some records,” he explains. “With that in mind, I started thinking, maybe we should get a string quartet to play some of our favorite songs. I didn’t want to just do cover versions of the songs, I wanted them to knock like the record.”

Benji plays a DJ set of house, hip-hop, and soul, while the strings weave in and out on top, creating unique transitions and progressions. The project has progressed to a 16-member performance at the legendary BBC Maida Vale Studios. This was their debut in the U.S., presented by the Red Bull Music Academy.