Quantic

An Announcement to Answer

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Will Holland, the man behind Quantic, has a way of avoiding those attributes often associated with electronica that lead to criticisms of it being a cold and detached music. Maybe it's because he often uses live instrumentation as well as samples, maybe it's because of what he chooses to explore within his work, or maybe it's just a less tangible talent that Holland possesses, something that repels him from a mechanized sound towards something a lot more real. All of these things are certainly found on Quantic's fourth release, An Announcement to Answer. It's a warm, fun album, full of measured guitar riffs, cascading horns, complex rhythms, and multiple stylistic influences, from his familiar broken beat in "Bomb in a Trumpet Factory" to the salsa of "Sabor"; from the Japanese-inspired flute of "Blow Your Horn" to the loungey house in "Meet Me at the Pomegranate Tree" or to the hip-hop in "Ticket to Know Where." And yet nothing on the record seems forced or discordant or out of place, it all comes together calmly and perfectly and seamlessly, instruments entering and fading out, looped and interesting, the beat staying strong, the vocals, if any (rapper Ohmega Watts and singers Tempo and Noelle Scaggs all contribute), present and important without dominating. There are only two tracks that use solely studio equipment, the opener and the closer, but both -- the airy "Absence Heard, Presence Felt," with its strings from an old French movie, stills of the Eiffel Tower and narrow Parisian streets mixed with modern drum tracks and jazzy horns, and "Tell It Like You Mean It," all held chords and plaintive intensity -- sound as immediate as anything else on the album, and if anything, simply show off Holland's ability in the studio. It's accessible, intelligent, and engaging; yet another impressive display of the power and vitality that electronic music can have if done right, and enough to convince naysayers who may say otherwise.

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