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Quadron

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Quadron: A Radiant, Poignant Hodgepodge

Quadron: A Radiant, Poignant Hodgepodge

Quadron

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The Danish duo Quadron's "Wounds" is all morose ambiance, aided by slow, sparse instrumental backing.

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Courtesy of the artist

The Danish duo Quadron's "Wounds" is all morose ambiance, aided by slow, sparse instrumental backing.

Courtesy of the artist

Tuesday's Pick

Song: "Wounds (Unreleased Simili Life Version)"

Artist: Quadron

CD: "Wounds (Unreleased Simili Life Version)" MP3

Genre: Soul

The Danish duo Quadron derives its name from the term "quadroon" — singer Coco and multi-instrumentalist/producer Robin Hannibal are both of one-fourth African descent — which hints at the band's flair for merging the best of its musical and cultural influences and filtering them through emotive electronic balladry and instrumentation. The result is a unique hodgepodge of retrofit pop-soul: Quadron's phenomenal self-titled debut is full of radiant '60s R&B, infused with ambient electronics, contemporary soul and a touch of jazz.

It helps that Coco and Hannibal have a knack for teetering emotions, from the poignant to the insouciant. The downtempo ballad "Wounds" — an alternate, pared-down version of the upbeat groove "Simili Life" — provides a striking contrast to its counterpart, even as the words remain identical.

What "Wounds" loses in complexity, it gains in effect. For all the subtle Latin rhythms, caressing woodwind lines and delicate piano chords that back Coco's airy voice in "Simili Life," the minimalist approach in "Wounds" is all morose ambiance, aided by slow, sparse instrumental backing. Coco's angst-filled vocal — "I know that truth hurts / Truth hurts" — is laid over unwavering synth drones, and trades lines with wistful horns in the chorus. It all culminates in a cry of "I'm losing my awareness," followed by a pregnant pause. The result reflects the song's title and lyric in an almost literal sense.

Quadron's songwriting, split between both members, may be poignant and heady in nature, but the duo's manipulation of mood in "Wounds" leaves the song open to interpretation. It's a landmark experiment for a maverick of soul music that flourishes amid rollercoaster emotions.