Reviews Zone

Quantic & Nidia Gongora: Curao (Tru Thoughts) 12th May 2017



4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)



I have long been a big admirer of this guy’s work. Quantic, aka Will Holland. Reviewed many of his albums and one can never second-guess what he is going to do next. This album project is a good case in point…..

The culmination of a creative partnership that has been sparking for the best part of a decade, ‘Curao’ is the full LP from world-renowned British producer Quantic and Colombian folklore singer Nidia Góngora. It brings a new and highly original interpretation of the unique, rich and mystical musical traditions of the Colombian Pacific Coast.

Nidia is considered one of the foremost artists of the typical marimba music of the South Pacific region, and a guardian of the oral tradition, Nidia Góngora fronts leading regional outfits including Grupo Canalon and plays a key role as a big sister and counsellor to younger groups. Now based in the city of Cali, Góngora was born into a musical family in the remote river village of Timbiquí, an Afro-Colombian community whose location and cultural contrasts provide endless inspiration.

Will Holland first became familiar with Góngora’s voice through the wall of his home in Cali, where he lived from 2007 for several years after visiting on a musical discovery mission and falling in love with the place. His neighbour used to play a song from a Grupo Canalon CD on repeat. Will fell for Nidia’s vocal talents and then  got to know her compositions and lyrics. Nidia has regularly fronted Quantic’s high profile live ensembles in recent years as well as contributing to some of his most popular tracks.

Her magnetic voice and captivating song writing combine with infectiously danceable beats and forward-thinking production on ‘Curao’, a collection of original tracks with the addition of two traditional pieces from the region’s rich songbook. Treating the stories and rhythms of Pacific music with utmost reverence, while forging a new and vital sound for today’s dancefloors. Described by taste makers and media VIPs as “magical” and “inspirational”, the album’s third cut, “Que Me Duele?”, is the lead single and a fabulous calling card for the project.

Will first found acclaim as Quantic. Sime also know him from the Quantic Soul Orchestra, and The Limp Twins, a duo he formed with Russell Porter. Initially a deejay partnership, it wasn’t long before they started recording, with Russell taking on the vocal duties and Will’s production. He has enjoyed consistent success as Quantic, releasing his first album, The 5th Exotic in the summer of 2001.Then came Apricot Morning less than a year later. He began a collaboration with the wonderful Alice Russell as well as recording with MC EQ and Bristol’s freshest hip hop crew, Aspects.

The release of the album Mishaps Happening in 2004 saw Quantic continuing to work with Alice Russell as well as recording two tracks with the legendary Spanky Wilson (with whom he went on to collaborate on a tour and an electrifying album for his Quantic Soul Orchestra. Quantic released a two-disc One Offs, Remixes and B Sides album in 2005, which featured a collaboration with Mr Scruff and remixes by Pilooski and Seiji; and his fifth long player, ‘An Announcement To Answer’ followed in 2006.

Quantic regularly DJs across the world. His music has been featured on countless compilations and appeared in TV soundtracks, and as ever he has a busy schedule of remixes from respected labels across the board. His track, “Mi Swing Es Tropical” with Nickodemus soundtracked Apple’s worldwide summer iPod advert.

In 2007 he relocated to Cali, Colombia, where he had a studio built. In 2008 he dropped Quantic Presenta Flowering Inferno, a summery dub and reggae-inspired affair with an authentic tropical vibe. The album, ‘Death Of The Revolution’ came out in July 2008 and featured Will Holland on various instruments with contributions from a host of Latin American musicians.

In 2009, Quantic and his Combo Bárbaro, a handpicked band of internationally renowned musicians (several of whom featured on the “Flowering Inferno” project)  released Tradition In Transition. “The Best Of Quantic” was released in September 2011 to celebrate ten years of Quantic’s music on Tru Thoughts records. He has now released 16 studio albums, and can rightfully take credit for consistent quality and his unfailing pioneering determination. Currently living in Brooklyn, New York.

There’s electronica, flute, infectious Latin rhythms, beats, grooves, mystery and magic here. Also, a dramatic a capella song “Dios Promete” which expresses love and thanks for the grace of God. All in all, Mr Holland has met his match in Nidia; in relation to quality and talent. File under “visionary”.


By Simon Redley  




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