Mishaps Happening

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Quantic producer Will Holland is that rare figure in dance music -- a two-way threat. As a producer and programmer, he's capable of innovating even while following closely along stylistic guidelines (his include Brazilian jazz, Afro-beat, and funk). That he's also a musician, capable of anchoring a section with bass or guitar and soloing on tenor or organ, is far too much to ask for -- most acts can't manage both even when the responsibilities are spread among several bandmembers. This third Quantic full-length bests the previous two (no small feat), powered by Holland's deep grooves, deft beats, able musicianship, and best of all, his realization that a one-man band isn't much fun for artist or audience. Sidemen, especially vocalists, abound on this record, and they create the interplay needed to carry the tracks on Mishaps Happening from pleasant genre exercises to innovative, gorgeous works of their own. Sonny Akpan summons the weighty authority of Fela Kuti on his feature, "Use What You Got," and returning talent Alice Russell makes her case as the most soulful woman on wax in the 21st century. (It should come as no surprise that Quantic's U.K. home, Tru Thoughts, is giving Russell a full-length of her own.) Earthy like Jazzanova, sublime like Swayzak, always fluent in the hippest styles but able to transcend the cognoscenti, Mishaps Happening is the best record on Ubiquity since As One's 21st Century Soul (and it will stun the same audience).

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