Leave it to a Brit to almost beat Americans, North, Central, and South, at our own global funk game. Yes, stateside, we've been enjoying a classic R&B renaissance courtesy of acts like Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Eli (Paperboy) Reed, and, of course, the Mark Ronson juggernaut (and all of the artists, some who need no mention, who he's produced).
But some of the most interesting global soul being released lately comes courtesy of the U.K. powerhouse born Will Holland but known on underground dancefloors as Quantic. For the last decade, he's been churning out a series of releases that cross genre and cultural boundaries.
Like any good kid raised on hip-hop, his is an aesthetic that borrows freely from multiple sources, picking up the best bits and breaks along the way. Unlike most hip-hop influenced producers, though, Quantic rarely samples, and he rarely hews to genre rules. Like, for instance, Ronson, whose compositions are virtually all completely original. Unlike Ronson, though, he reaches further afield for his definition of soul, combining, say, English singers with salsa rhythms and hip-hop beats, or whatever else he fancies.
The Quantic sound is a little hip-hop, a little soul, a little funk, a little house, a little salsa, a little ... you get the picture? This is a dude whose record collection is surely to be envied, especially since he relocated to Cali, Colombia three years ago to soak up Latin sounds. Since then, his own compositions have featured new blends of folkloric South American sounds and more and more Spanish-language vocals.
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Expect a similar fusion when he spins a special DJ set tonight at Champion Sound at Electric Pickle, long a party for the kinds of dusty-fingered crate-diggers who appreciate this kind of melange. Don't trainspot on Quantic, though -- his mixes are, after all, for dancing.
For a sample, check out these downloads below. This fresh mix, from this past August, was recorded live in Cali and gives a pretty good picture of a Quantic DJ set. Below that, score a free original single from his last artist album, last year's Tradition in Transition, which he recorded with his group Quantic and his Combo Bárbaro.