21 July 2010
Radio Ponsonby Record Review: Quantic Presenta Flowering Inferno 'Dog With A Rope'
Quantic Presenta Flowering Inferno
Dog With A Rope
I don't know about you, but I reckon it's getting colder as the NZ winter really begins to slide her icy fingers under our collective rump.
So when an album billed as "Tropical Horns on Reggae Rhythms" arrives for release, I find myself fighting thoughts of jealousy. When said album turns out to be the new Quantic full-length, from his Flowering Inferno project, well that, my dear reader, is another matter entirely.
Let's get the disclaimer out of the way up front: British-born, Colombia-resident Quantic aka Will Holland, is one of this music fan's favourite independent artists, with a vast back catalogue of excellent releases as Quantic, Quantic Soul Orchestra, Quantic & His Combo Barbaro & The Limp Twins; & projects with Alice Russell & Spanky Wilson.
Flowering Inferno is the freshest of Holland's many musical guises, which, all up, have seen the uber-prolific young prodcer, musician & DJ release 14 full-length albums in 10yrs, each of them on the little-label-that-could, Brighton's famed Tru Thoughts.
Dog With A Rope is his 2nd album as Flowering Inferno & it sees him embrace even more fully the ties between Jamaican music's reggae rhythms & Afro-Latin's many dance styles.
Recorded at his own Sonida Del Valle Studios in Cali, COlombia (where Holland has been resident since 2007), the album is inspired by soundsystem culture & is a seamless blend of rocksteady, reggae & dub with Colombian cumba & Cuban rumba, delivered by a well-schooled cast of musicians.
Holland has gathered an ensemble of horn players from Cuba, Colombia, Puerto Rico & Panama to ply alongside Jamaican-born drummer Conrad Kelly (UB40, Steel Pulse), Peruvian pianist Alfredo Linares (who has appeared on Holland's last 3 albums), Colombian percussionist Wilson Viveros & Holland himself, of course. The featured vocalists are Nidia Gongora, who you may remember from the ubiquitous Quantic & His Combo Barbaro single Un Canto A Mi Tierra; & Markittis Micolta, a vocalist who began his career in the '60s with the Colombian band Peregoyo y su Combo Vacana, one of the first groups to combine Descarga & Cuban sounds ith Colombian folklore.
Dog With A Rope stands in contrast to - and as an ideal companion piece for - Quantic & His Combo Barbaro's critically acclaimed 2009 album Tradition In Transition, which saw Holland explore the Latin styles of cumbia, son, salsa & mambo; and Flowering Inferno's debut album, Death Of The Revolution, upon which Holland delved more deeply into the roots of reggae.
On Dog With A Rope we hear more fully formed "songs" & more vocals than on the Death Of The Revolution, yet Holland keeps each track short & sweet; with the ideas plentiful, the sweet funk bountiful & the freshness palpable. Heavy, heavy bass, tropical reggae & genuine Latin rhythms make for the sunniest listen of our winter months & also one of Holland's finest albums to date.
The initial Tru Thoughts vinyl release of Dog With A Rope includes the album on LP plus a 7" vinyl single & the full album on CD!
In A Nutshell: top shelf tropical reggae with plenty of heavy bass
Nyntee's Rating: NINE Mojitos out of TEN
Check out the Radio Ponsonby Record Review with Nyntee, on Murry Sweetpants' Breakfast Show on Radio Ponsonby, every Wednesday around 8.25am. Tune in! 107.7FM.