Quantic / Flowering Inferno

Dog With a Rope

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Will Holland, aka Quantic, the British DJ/producer/musician who has been making his own brand of soul- and funk-flavored music for the last decade, took a huge step forward with 2008's Death of the Revolution, the first in the Quantic Presenta: Flowering Inferno series. Holland, who has been based in Colombia since 2007, was interested in bringing together the sounds of the Caribbean and Latin America, and while Death of the Revolution focused more on the Caribbean side of that equation, Dog with a Rope brings in more Latin, and is better for it (choosing between the dubby "Echate Pa'lla" [Version] and "Echate Pa'lla," for example, the salsa of the latter is certainly the winner). Not that Holland is rewriting the book here: both cumbia and dub have a similarly lazy bassline, but credit Holland for taking advantage of these congruences to make something that sounds authentic but not derivative (in fact, the two covers here, "Cumbia Sobre el Mar" and "Swing Easy," aren't even the standout tracks). Holland is sincere in his respect and love of the music, and it shows, though much of this is thanks to the other musicians on the album, mainly pianist Alfredo Linares, whose buoyant lines on "Dub y Guaguanco" make it one of the best here. Holland himself is no slouch, however, adding bass and guitar to many of the pieces, and sounding good (although on "Dub y Guaguanco" he actually stays in the control room as engineer). Dog with a Rope is one of those records you feel like you know as soon as you hear it, that you start singing along to even though you're not sure of the words, an album perfect for those humid, lazy summer days, and it shows Holland's maturation not only as a producer, but as a songwriter, bandleader, and musician as well. Excellent stuff.

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