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courtesy of the artist
Will Holland, a.k.a. Quantic.
Will Holland, a.k.a. Quantic. courtesy of the artist
As I scampered up the stairs of the Eighteenth Street Lounge in Washington, D.C., wisps of incense smoke, flickering candlelight and a flood of caramel brass tugged me toward the deck-top dance floor, where a special guest DJ was working his decks. His sound was familiar: a Latin-infused reggae beat, stripped down to essentials and spice — no filler, only flavor. A familiar voice rang out into the drenched summer air, singing, "Y que se puede vacilar / Es que mi swing es tropical" ("If you can get down / it's because my swing is tropical").
Originally released on the ESL Music label in 2006, that track from Quantic and Nickodemus stalked my nightly excursions into the District. Seeing Quantic spin that record at the label's birthplace left me forever rapt by his globally influenced dub arrangements.
Quantic (a.k.a. Will Holland) is now based in Cali, Colombia, where he started his latest project, Quantic Presents Flowering Inferno. Its latest album, Dog With a Rope, features Colombian musicians playing over Holland's genre-blending production. Take, for example, "Dub y Guaguanco," where the beat is driven by a traditional mambo feel, but adds a hip-hop tinge to modernize the sound, or "Portada Del Mar," where a reggae pattern rolls under a jazzy sax and trilling trumpet. These juxtapositions can be startling, but they never feel out of place. Holland's tropical rhythms and South American sounds have always brought me back to sticky summer nights on that deck, and his latest work will keep me there.
Dog With a Rope will be available here in its entirety until its release through Tru Thoughts Records on July 13. Please leave your thoughts on the album in the comments section below.