Mama's Funky Flow
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Mama's Funky Flow

[Review] Quantic and His Combo Bárbaro – Tradition in Transition

July 2nd, 2009 . by zephirnl

Tradition In Transition coverA while ago I reviewed the 7″ single Linda Morena, by Quantic and His Combo Bárbaro. The song I based my review on back then actually was the album version of Linda Morena, instead of the much shorter single edit (8:29 vs 4:58). This will probably mean they have drastically reduced solo time, but fear not, the full track that I raved about back then is apparently the album version. The double vinyl gatefold Tradition in Transition LP is shipping since june 29th followed by an official (other stores) release on july 6th, while the 7″ of Linda Morena b/w Enyere Kumbara has been available for a few weeks now. Quantic has just finished a small tour promoting the new album with a bunch of DJ sets. It is high time that I write a complete review of the album, not only because of the aforementioned dates, but also because the album has been in high rotation ever since the disc dropped on my doormat. To business then.

And quite a lovely business it is. If this album were only to be judged by its cover, it would already rank high in my all time favourites. The cut-and-paste feel of the artwork and the specific images chosen by Symon Warwick are an excellent companion to the warm deep sounds on this LP. As on Quantic’s previous ‘band’ release Tropidélico (2LP back in stock now!), the sleeve excellently reflects the multitude of styles, referred to as “a multi-cultural patchwork” by its press release. Although I must say that the phrase does not fully do justice to the excellent production and signature Quantic compositions, which make this one of the most coherent Quantic band albums I have heard.

Quantic and His Combo Bárbaro band pic

Quantic and His Combo Bárbaro

One of the things I feared when I first heard about this project, was that it would be another step away from the raw funk and soul that I so love in the first two Quantic Soul Orchestra albums, and felt he was moving away from in the Tropidélico sound. However, the drums are still manned by long time Quantic collaborator Malcolm Catto (drummer for the Heliocentrics a.o.), and there are some arguably funky raw tunes on the album in the collaborations with soul crooner Kabir. He delivers his raw vocals, brimming with emotion & experience, to Linda Morena and I Just Fell In Love Again. The latter has a heavy drum part that pushes the track forward at a relentless pace without spinning out of control. Much of this is due to Holland’s excellent production work, so that the drums are clearly in your face (ear), without taking away the attention from the vocals and other parts, making this my dance floor favourite of this album.

Other notable highlights are more experimental meetings like Albela where indian vocals are married to the south american grooves. And there is no reason to file for divorce; the piano work beautifully underscoring and assimilating the vocals into the Caribbean grooves. Another nice swinging rhythm is employed in Un Canto a Mi Tierra, which has a girl’s vocals singing over the instruments that groove their way into your brain. I can almost see the sunny village square where this song should have a video shot, happy locals and all (and ofcourse they have, see the micro site here). There are also some instrumental cinematic songs (Más Pan, Undelivered Letter, New Morning, Canção Do Deserto, Arianita) that make you see and almost smell the hills and landscape of Cali when you close your eyes, as if traveling through the hillsides by bus. It makes me long for a vacation that much harder. Al in all this is just a great release that deserves all the attention it has been getting and will definitely stay in high rotation on my various music players.

Since I’ve been pushing forward finalizing this review for way too long, I am now a happy owner of the double LP & the Linda Morena single, and Tru Thoughts have in the mean time even dedicated a micro-site to this release, containing additional videos to the previously releases B+ trailer and a full album preview (be aware that the sound starts to play immediately). The full press release can be found in the archives of

Keep your eyes peeled for more funky Tru stuff this summer courtesy of Kylie Auldist, with a new killer 7″ (juli 13th) followed by a new album (august 10th), produced by Lanu and backed by The Bamboos. Other recent Tru Thoughts releases like Lizzy Parks’ all acoustic album ‘This and That‘ (all new material) and Domu’s collection of ‘One Off’s & B-sides‘ deserve some attention too.

Just in: Quantic and His Combo Bárbaro UK/France tour:

Aug 8th – Big Chill Festival – Saturday headliner, Castle Stage

Aug 9th – Brecon International Jazz Festival, Brecon Beacons National Park

Aug 28 – Rendezvous L’Erdre Festival, Nantes, France

Aug 29 – Shambala Festival, Kelmarsh, Northamptonshire

Aug 30 – Beachdown Festival, Brighton

Sept 1 – Root Music Festival, Upper Mill Civic Hall, Oldham

Sept 3 – Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Liverpool

Sept 4 - Roundhouse, London

Sept 5 - O2 Academy, Bristol

Sept 6 - Electric Picnic Festival, Ireland


2 Responses to “[Review] Quantic and His Combo Bárbaro – Tradition in Transition”

  1. taco Says:

    ha sjoerd, inderdaad die quantic plaat moest ik meteen aanschaffen, wat een schoonheid.

    hot 8 was goed, vooral die michael jackson medley. niet meer gezien achteraf, jullie waren vroegtijdig naar utrecht toe, of heb ik niet goed gekeken?

  2. [review] Kylie Auldist – Made of Stone (TRUCD197) Says:

    [...] this was intended to be a thorough front-to-back review similar to my recent Quantic & His Combo Bárbaro LP review. But two things have made me decide to make it a short, small review. The most important one is [...]