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Quantic

"Quantic" is the catch-all moniker for U.K.-born, New York-based musical polymath Will Holland. A world-renowned DJ, genre-blending multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer, and label owner (Enhanced Music), his work cuts across EDM, jazz, soul, funk, and global traditions from cumbia and bossa to salsa, Afrobeat, dub reggae, and more. He's issued dozens of recordings and garnered hundreds of credits as a composer and producer. His 2001 debut album, The 5th Exotic for Tru Thoughts, is a trance classic. His Quantic Soul Orchestra with vocalist Alice Russell and saxophonist sister Lucy Holland, issued Stampede in 2003, followed by I'm Thankful in collaboration with R&B singer Spanky Wilson. After issuing QSO's Tropidelico in 2007, Quantic moved to Cali, Colombia to study with its master musicians. There he formed Combo Barbaro (with salsa pianist Alfredo Linares and Colombian singer Nidia Góngora), and recorded Death of a Revolution. 2012 saw the releases of Ondatrópica (a large-group acoustic Colombian cumbia band he co-founded with Mario Galeano) and the eponymous, rootsy Los Miticos del Ritmo offering explorations of funky cumbia and sonidero. Quantic emigrated to New York City in 2014 and issued Magnetica, a funky exercise in global electronica. His jazz project, A Western Transient, released A New Constellation in 2015. In 2017, Quantic and Góngora released the tropical groover Curao, and followed with Almas Conectadas in 2021. His compositions have been featured on the soundtracks to more than a dozen films and television shows. Will Holland was born in 1980 in Bewdley, Worcestershire, England. He played guitar in various rock bands as a teenager, but it was his subsequent switch to house and broken beat that helped launch his musical career, especially after the single "We Got Soul" arrived in 2000. In 2001, Quantic's full-length debut, The 5th Exotic, was released by the Tru Thoughts label, trailed a year later by Apricot Morning. After briefly pausing in 2003 to form the Quantic Soul Orchestra (with vocalist Alice Russell) and record Stampede (on which he played organ, bass, guitar, and saxophone) and his soul-folk-dance duo the Limp Twins' Tales from Beyond the Groove, Holland returned to his solo efforts with 2004's Mishaps Happening. Quantic Soul Orchestra's Pushin On was issued a year later. 2006 proved to be particularly busy for the prolific polymath. He released a compilation (One Off's, Remixes and B Sides), a reissue of The 5th Exotic, and the Quantic album An Announcement to Answer. With QSO, he recorded and produced I'm Thankful, a collaboration with American soul singer Spanky Wilson. In 2007, Holland moved to Cali, Colombia on the country's southern Pacific Coast in order to study with the city's many musical masters. In 2008, he issued a blend of dub and '70s Latin on Death of the Revolution as the first release under his Flowering Inferno moniker. Quantic dug in deep in Colombia. He opened an all-analog studio, jammed with local musicians and took lessons from masters. He staged jams between elder and younger musicians, and DJ'ed dance parties all over the globe. His single "Mi Swing Es Tropical," featuring Nickodemus, was featured on an Apple television commercial in 2008. In 2009 he formed Combo Barbaro with salsa/Latin jazz pianist Alfredo Linares, conguero Freddy Colorado, bassist Fernando Silva, and Heliocentrics' Malcolm Catto on drums. Their debut album, Tradition in Transition, appeared from Tru-Thoughts. That year he also issued the Latin groove mixtape Caja y Guacharacha, followed by the loopy, Ethio-jazz-cum-Afrobeat and cumbia mixtape Addis to Axum. 2011 saw the return of Flowering Inferno on Dog with a Rope, while Combo Barbaro issued Look Around the Corner, recorded with Russell on vocals. In 2012, Quantic released the globally acclaimed Ondatrópica for Miles Cleret's Soundway. Co-founded with musician/academic Mario Galeano (Frente Cumbiero), they created a cumbia-based dance orchestra composed of long-seasoned veterans and rising younger talent. Later that year they released the Los Irreales Mixtape. Just before emigrating to New York, Quantic released Magnetica under his own name; his first solo album in seven years. Its 13 electro-acoustic beat-fueled tracks combined many of the styles Quantic had explored over the previous decade, and included collaborations with Russell, Nidia Góngora, Michi Sarmiento, Shinehead, Thalma De Freitas, and pioneering cumbia singer and accordionist Aníbal Velásquez. After emigrating to the U.S. Quantic co-founded the Brooklyn studio and label Selva with partner Aziza Ali. Quantic formed a contemporary jazz group with six of his favorite N.Y.C.-based musicians. As the Western Transient they released the seminal A New Constellation in July. He played guitar, produced, and served as musical director for a septet that also included drummer Wilson Viveros, Sylvester Onyejiaka on flute and tenor sax, Todd Simon on trumpet and flugelhorn, Brandon Coleman on piano and keys, Gabe Boel on bass, and Alan Lightner on steel pan drum and percussion. Holland resurrected Flowering Inferno for 2016's 1,000 Watts, a more direct foray into the traditional reggae sound (the track "A Life Worth Living" included vocalists Russell and legendary Jamaican toaster U-Roy), as well as a second, hard-driving Ondatrópica full-length entitled Baile Bucanero. The following year he issued Curao, an 18-track collaborative effort with Afro-Colombian Combo Bárbaro vocalist Nidia Góngora. The set netted a small handful of international dancefloor hits including "Que Me Duele?," "Amor en Francia," "Ojos Vicheros," and "E Ye Ye." Working at his Brooklyn-based Selva studio, Quantic assembled a large new studio band. They tried out dance-oriented material and world fusion concepts at N.Y.C.'s Good Room before recording and releasing them as Atlantic Oscillations on Tru Thoughts in June 2019. In early 2020, they released single and video for "You Used to Love Me," featuring vocalist Denitia. The track became a smash on dancefloors across the globe. 2020 also marked the return of Ondatrópica, who released the digital single "Noche de Amor" in collaboration with legendary Colombian composer, keyboardist, and bandleader Juancho Vargas. Quantic also issued the disco single "Theme from Selva." In 2021 he released the dubby breakbeat single "I Won't Fade Away" with Russell, followed by the Heaven or Hell EP for Australia's Aus that balanced hypnotic disco grooves with warm melodic house tied together by walking basslines and live percussion. In July, Quantic and Góngora released single "Balada Borracha," followed by "Macumba de Marea" in August and "Vuelve" in September. These tracks previewed their second collaborative album Almas Conectadas ("connected souls") in October. Bubbling with symphonic flourishes, it explored the rich musical traditions of Colombia's Pacific Coast yet was recorded at Quantic's Brooklyn studio Selva.
© Thom Jurek & Marisa Brown /TiVo
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