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Producer Quantic Puts His Musical Wanderlust Center Stage on New Solo Release 'Atlantic Oscillations'

Photo: Tru Thoughts Records via Bandcamp

Quantic's Atlantic Oscillations sees his return to the forefront, with all original music that draws on house, disco, soul, jazz, dub, and Will Holland's wanderlust.

Atlantic Oscillations

Tru Thoughts

21 June 2019

Under the name Quantic, English-born and New York-based producer Will Holland has steadily spent the last two decades, give or take, exploring a wide world of music. Since his move to Cali, Colombia, back in 2007, he has become one of the foremost producers of Latin American sounds for the world music market - and strangely, I'm not mad at it. Quantic's output is always good music, first and foremost; like any good producer, he wants to bring out the best in the artists and styles he works with.Curao (2017) with Nidia Góngora put her voice and Afro-Colombian traditions at the forefront; Quantic's subtle hand was integral to that. Argentine folk-fusion vocal group Fémina enlisted his services on this year's Conchas y Perlas. Again, his careful work framed the trio's voices as all the more arresting. As Flowering Inferno, Holland has dabbled in reggae, while as Ondatrópica, he has put together more stylized electronic takes on tropical dance music.

All told, it's easy to appreciate Quantic as a collaborator, but it's been half a decade since he put out an album solely under his name. New album Atlantic Oscillations sees his return to the forefront, with all original music that draws on house, disco, soul, jazz, dub, and Will Holland's wanderlust.

At first, the album doesn't sound much like a party. Instrumental track "Divergence" opens the album with sweeping strings and cosmic electronics, and while the drumbeats hint at more dancefloor-ready rhythms to come, the piece reads more cinematic than groovy. Of course, it doesn't take long for Quantic to get the beats rolling with poppy "Incendium", a sharp, psychedelic piece with dreamy vocals that starts at a marching pace before flowing into a pastoral skip with vague hippie vibes.

"September Blues" is strictly instrumental electrofunk, with sparkling keys, disco strings, and fantastically complex rhythms that come together in an extended allusion to classic soul sounds. Synth vibraphone backs breathy crooner Denitia on "You Used to Love Me", which is catchy, if predictable. A sudden squeeze of Afro-Latin styles on the bass-heavy title track serves as a callback to Quantic's Colombian influences and allows for a carefree moment before Alice Russell lends a guest vocal to neo-soul ballad "Now or Never".

The final five cuts of Atlantic Oscillations are easily my favorite. Sly5thAve lays down saxophone tracks on salsa "Orquídea" to smooth effect. "Tierra Mama" opens with a splash of acid-washed electric guitar, a continuing motif throughout the song that backs singer Nidia Góngora's suitably earthy vocals. "Motivic Retrograde" puts metallic effects on beach-ready melodic lines for a tropical house vibe, while "La Reflexión" has a cooler, dubbier foundation for its pointed synths. Closing track "Is It Your Intention" is a nearly pitch-perfect impression of West African pop in the 1970s and 1980s, cemented in the present by Will Holland's voice, soft and echoing.

There's never any doubt in my mind that I want to hear whatever Quantic wants to create. Atlantic Oscillations is a hearty collection of new work from a producer with a brilliant repertoire. Even at its most straightforward, it is enjoyable, an album worth savoring from start to finish.


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