A mammoth retrospective of the producer’s wide spectrum of sounds.
Martin Longley 2011
From a remarkably youthful beginning, Will Holland has been startlingly omnivorous in his musical tastes. Operating as Quantic, his talents as a producer, multi-instrumentalist, tunesmith and all-round maven have produced a hugely impressive body of work. Now, after a decade’s output for the Tru Thoughts label, it’s time to celebrate that accomplishment.
This mammoth retrospective fills both of its discs to their 70-something-minutes maximum, and there certainly aren’t any patchy stretches. The one thing that spans all of Quantic’s changeling spread is his attention to the bouncing beat, a lever for all that transpires in the name of his soul, funk, dub and Latin adventures.
From Bewdley to Cali, where Holland moved in 2007, it doesn’t seem to matter from where the Quantic pulsation emanates. The Colombian phase of recent years has plunged his music into a deeply Latin state, although the current Combo Bárbaro outfit has developed outwards from its cumbia/folkloric roots, becoming something of a pan-Latin funk machine. The first project to emerge out of this time was Flowering Inferno, Quantic’s dub-Latin crew. Before this he was primarily known for leading The Quantic Soul Orchestra, a completely different entity, dedicated to retro-soul sounds. This was where singer Alice Russell made her reputation, with Holland being prescient in terms of a dedicated re-awakening of this authentic band formation.
All of the above manifestations are well represented here, along with the original Quantic-as-dancefloor-producer beginnings, from the turn of the last decade. There are even a few odd-tracks-out, which is quite an achievement given the Quantic range. There are productions for singers Kinny and Spanky Wilson, as well as The Limp Twins, his atypical banner for the stylistic gliding that evokes an imaginary wan-voiced meeting between Marvin Gaye and Arthur Russell.
Quantic’s Cumbia Clash features lumbering sub-bass with parping electro-flute, Alice Russell releases some perfectly piercing soul screams during Pushin’ On, and the Latin side was already evident on Sabor, recorded very soon after arriving in Cali. Other oddities are Sol Clap, which makes a foray into the Balkans, and Perception, which offers a taste of drum’n’bass: winners, all. Quantic has no need to touch down in any particular land: his style is always grounded, even if its fine details are flitting around.