Album of the Day: Quantic, “Atlantic Oscillations”

There are two ideas at play on Atlantic Oscillations, the latest album from Will Holland, who records as Quantic. One is the development of the classic themes that have run through all of Holland’s albums: jazz, funk, disco, reggae, house, and the cumbia grooves of Colombia where he lived for several years before relocating to New York. And then there’s the increased presence of Holland himself, who takes center stage on Oscillations more than he ever has before. On songs like “Incendium” and “Is it Your Intention,” his voice is heavily swathed with chorus effects, but it’s still unmistakably upfront, centering and guiding the songs.

Remarkably, all of it works. No matter how many different ways Holland fuses styles—the trip-hop slow jam “You Used to Love Me,” the electro house meets jazz funk of “Motivic Retrograde,” the salsa-disco title track—it connects. But what leaps out on Oscillations aren’t the countless stylistic nods to this genre, or that one; it’s the immediate nature of the hooks, and the lushness of the production and arrangements. It’s the straightforward emotional connection. If the album raises any questions, it’s this one: For all the irrepressible groove and global funk in Holland’s music, is there a singer-songwriter record fighting to get out?

-Joe Muggs

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