Dusting Off... Quantic's The 5th Exotic
What is it?
Released in 2001, The 5th Exotic is the debut album by producer, DJ and multi-instrumentalist Will Holland, better known to most by the name Quantic. Born in the sleepy Worcestershire town of Bewdley to folk musician parents, Holland began making music at around 16 years of age, making records in a makeshift bedroom studio and releasing his first single, 'We Got Soul', on London's Breakin' Bread records. He was soon snapped up by Brighton-based label Tru Thoughts, still in its infancy at the time, and in 2001 he was ready to release his full-length debut.
Although these days Quantic's work features very little in the way of samples, preferring instead to use live instrumentation, The 5th Exotic is a more sample-based LP – many of which were the result of lunchtime crate-digging sessions - that has much in common with the output of labels such as Ninja Tune, with a wide range of influences that include breakbeat, jazz, funk, trip-hop and world music, particularly salsa and bossa nova. That said, there are many live instruments to be heard on the record, some of which are provided by his two sisters, talented musicians in their own right, and though much of the album is instrumental, The 5th Exotic does feature early vocal appearances from emerging British artists such as Alice Russell.
Complex without being inaccessible, the album's highlights include its infectious title track, the Planet of the Apes-sampling 'Infinite Regression' and the sublime 'Time is the Enemy'. Really though, as with so many of the albums featured in Dusting Off..., this is a record you can throw on at any time of the day or night, at a club, in a bar or at a dinner party, and we're willing to bet you'll be in a good mood by the time it has finished.
Why should I revisit?
Quantic is one of the most unique producers the UK has produced in recent years and the sheer breadth of his musical taste has led to him recording under a variety of aliases; The Limp Twins, Quantic Soul Orchestra and, more recently, Quantic & His Combo Barbero, a group producing South American-influenced grooves out of Colombia, where he now lives.
His career has covered a lot of ground since his debut and The 5th Exotic is not just a great record but a fascinating look back at where it all started. It was also one of Tru Thoughts earliest success stories and the label has gone on to become one of the most well-respected independent labels in the UK.
Who will enjoy it?
If you're a fan of acts like DJ Shadow, Coldcut and Lemon Jelly, or if you love the South American vibes of bossa, samba and salsa, this will be right up your street.