Tag Archives: Quantic

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.

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Fémina Share Argentinian Folk-Pop With the World

Femina

The Argentinan group Fémina—sisters Sofia “Toti” Trucco, Clara “Wen” Trucco, and childhood friend Clara “Clari” Miglioli—make music that’s both potent and affecting. The music consists of near-anthems in three-part harmonies that soar and shimmer as they slip in and out of hip-hop and lace around delicate electronic grooves. But the way they tell it, the origin of the group was surprisingly casual. All three members were raised in San Martín de los Andes, a small town in southern Argentina in the Patagonian region. Artistic expression was an active part of their lives—Toti is a dancer; Clari is an actress; Wen is an actress, painter, and illustrator—but it wasn’t until 2004, when Toti and Wen started composing rap lyrics based on Clari’s poetry—that they began working together as a group. The began teaching themselves to play their instruments, christening themselves Fémina, the Latin word for “woman.”

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Keeping the Flame Alive: The World of Deep Funk Archival Compilations

DeepFunk-600

“‘Deep funk’ was really just a name I came up with for my club night,” remembers Keb Darge, a DJ and devoted 45s collector. “The rare groove scene had played funk, but I wanted to get it across to the possible customers that we were digging much deeper than had been done in the past.” Though he might today view his off-the-cuff subgenre designation as arbitrary, he remains inextricably tied to it. Not only did he begin the famed Legendary Deep Funk night in 1994, moving it to Madame Jojo’s in London’s Soho district a year later, but, perhaps more impressively, he kept its bizarro flame lit for 20-plus years (later with the help of DJ Snowboy).

In the same vein as England’s northern soul movement of the late ’60s and ’70s, deep funk was forged from stacks of obscure 45s by little-known black American artists and long-gone, one-off labels (many of which were private press). Darge thought some of the nastier funk heat could be found on the flip side of a rare soul record, the side that back then wasn’t being paid much mind. “Because of my time in the northern soul scene, I could tell what a genuinely rare record was and what an ‘I’ve not seen it before, but it’s not really rare’ record was,” he says.

Whatever relic Darge spun during the Legendary Deep Funk heyday, chances were decent it represented the only living evidence of an artist or band’s existence. The more cryptic the record, the more exclusive value it had (as long as the music was worth a damn). Even more likely was that those who played on the cut had zero clue it was filling a dancefloor across the Atlantic, decades after it failed to make a ripple in the States.

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Colombia’s Ondatrópica Contextualize the Music of the Tropics

Ondatrópica

In the last few years, tropical themes have made a comeback in pop, with everyone from The Strokes to Diplo to Mike Posner leaning toward the equator through sounds, instrumentation and even the color palettes in their music videos. Most of these references coming from the mainstream are devoid of the historical, social and political contexts of the tropics, though. A good start in that direction is the music of Ondatrópica.

Since forming in 2011, the Colombian supergroup helmed by Mario Galeano and Will Holland —known as Frente Cumbiero and Quantic, respectively— has taken an overtly political stance in re-contextualizing tropical genres, specifically those tied to Colombian folklore and popular culture. As researchers and record collectors, they’ve been slowly studying the music and artists coming out of the golden age of the Colombian recording industry (roughly through the ‘40s, ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s) and incorporating in their own music, the production techniques, instruments and artists whose contributions to the country’s musical canon have been overlooked or forgotten through the years. The result of their search was recorded in their first effort, 2012’s Ondatrópica, which featured a total of 50 musicians from different generations giving a nuanced (and delightful) contemporary update to styles like cumbia, salsa, and vallenato.

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Raiding Quantic’s Instrument Collection

Quantic

“My sisters picked up more instruments like piano. I was trying to go against the grain, getting into metal.”
—Will “Quantic” Holland

When England’s Will Holland released his first album under the name Quantic in 2001, it scanned as downtempo. Its songs had the requisite lackadaisical drum loops, jazz-tinged keys, and tasteful psychedelic flourishes. But with each subsequent album, beguiling elements of Latin music, reggae and Brazilian bossa nova became the focus rather than the flavoring. It became clear that Quantic wasn’t just dabbling in world beats, he was deeply exploring these regions. Whether he was releasing albums as the Quantic Soul Orchestra, Quantic and his Combo Bárbaro, Los Miticos del Ritmo or The Limp Twins, Holland has dug deep into the rhythms of cumbia, pacifico, soul, reggae, downtempo and more, blending them all together into an intoxicating, hip-swaying stew.

In May, Quantic revived one of his more curious fusions, the South American-tinged dub reggae project Flowering Inferno. With the crackling first single, “A Life Worth Living,” Quantic utilizes the vocal talents of longtime collaborator Alice Russell and the toasting talents of U-Roy. He’s not the only reggae legend who makes an appearance. The album relies heavily on the solid foundation of drummer Carlton “Santa” Davis, the man behind innumerable reggae riddims as a member of Soul Syndicate, Roots Radics and the Aggrovators, to name just a few. (That’s his hi-hat that producer Bunny “Striker” Lee magically transformed into the famous “flying cymbal” sound.)

After spending the past seven years living in Colombia and touring throughout South America, Holland recently relocated to New York City. In advance of the release of 1000 Watts, Holland opened up the door to his Brooklyn apartment and showcased a few of the musical instruments he’s collected during his world travels, explaining how they’ve been deployed on his albums.

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