Quentin Hiatus- Acceptance LP – Free Love Digi

This new release by Quentin Hiatus is the 40th release from his stateside label Free Love Digi . A label that has been gaining momentum and attention worldwide for being on the frontline of the leftfield and future bass movement since it began almost a decade ago. Joined on the roster by artists such as , Sinistarr, Moralz( aka Jo-S) , Kantyze, Basic Biology, Onism QI , Thomas B, Neo-Geo, Intrinzic, & B1TZYE .  Hiatus  got his start in production in the early 2000’s, after spending many years behind there decks smashing crowds with smooth liquid sounds and high energy dnb. Over the years he has towed a fine line between djing and production, but over the last decade he has really honed in on his style and sound. So much so that last year he was signed to the legendary RAM records. In which he has had tunes featured on compilations pushing their new imprint Prog:Ram. I’ve known Quentin  for many many years now, and one thing I’ve always known about him is his ability to look at music and production from a purely progressive angle. To hear and create sounds that are familiar and yet, having his own unique flavor stand out in the “Spice Mix” . Settling for doing the same thing everyone else is doing, is not an option for him. Making music that is true and respectful to the origins, yet telling his own story is a big reason why he can stand out in a crowded field. And this release is no different. It is packed with 10 songs that tell a story. Guide you on a voyage through soulful drum and bass, leftfield, halftime, and footwork. Seamlessly progressing from one track to the next. With bright and focused production, he is able to translate an array of emotion, social context, visions of a brighter future, and the feeling of being surrounded by darkness, but still finding solace and an exit into the light. Acceptance showcases how one can bring together the elements of funk, jazz, grime, dnb, soul, bounce and synth pop into one cohesive piece of music thats focal point seems to be figuring out how to relay your personal life experiences through spectrums of sound. Most of the time you have artists creating music for strictly for the dance floor, and this album has that, but it also has a construct that invites the listener to go just a little bit further down the rabbit hole to hear what the artist is really going through.

THE TUNES:

Right off of the jump we have Daytime in Neptune . Its a solid opening track that begins with a very warm and inviting synth line, which grabs your attention. There is a solid backbeat to get your head moving around, and a vocal harmony that immediately makes you smile. I get some very synth pop vibes from this tune, reminiscent of FKA TWIGS  earlier works. While this lies in the realm of tempo that standard dnb lies in, this is more-less an opening of the door. A aperitif is you will, something to warm up your senses before you dive in.

Tisno is the second tune rounding first. It begins with a staccato key line that gives off heavy liquid vibes. Early  Danny Bird or Marcus Intelex memories begin to come forth, and thats when this vocal line starts to sweep through your senses, drawing you into the vibe. It has super crips drums, which are inviting, yet not over worked. The addition of glitches sounds and crispy little amens every fourth bar give the tune motion, but without going to heavy. There is a “rhodes” style piano line that adds a vintage funk to the mix, something in the vein of channeling Bill Weathers from 70’s nostalgia and casting it into the future.

Purpose for U . Going off base is very up to par for Q . And the kinda triplet key line takes your attention away from a standard groove, and sets this tune up perfectly. All little riser comes in with a breath of air right before sample ” No one can create your purpose for you” comes and goes in just the right places in the tune. And stands as a resonating thought of much needed truth. Then the bounce comes. Out of left field one would say. You have a drum line complete with all the necessary components. The claves, grooving hi hats, fingers snaps, a bubbling kick and pitched up snare line, very much a throwback to the classic Roland 808 drum sounds. A deep baseline stands behind it all really impacting the bounce and groove this tune is obviously capturing. Rolling saw blade style bass tones come in and out occasionally to give it some depth and girth. This one definitely will have you one your feet, whether you like it or not. Classic bounce/leftfield!

Eleven Days Away.  This was one of my favorite tunes of the LP. It tosses you into this realm of. Is this hip-hop, halftime, The Weekend ? Whatever it is, IT GOTS GOT! There are certain ways the drums flow alongside supremely calculated glitches fills and drum rolls. All of the best parts I can relate to recent productions coming from Dj Shadow/ Anderson Paak/ Travis Scott vibes. This one just grooves, grooves hard. Definitely a stand alone tune that can turn heads from many cliques in varying realms of EDM to Hip Hop.

Mega Foam Flowers . This is my type of rolling dnb tune. Something that holds on to deep and rich sub basslines, chippy hats and percussive elements driving the rhythm. Similar in style to rolling liquid tunes by Random Movement/ Dave Owen with a touch of dark elements that current artists like Visages lends to tunes consistently. This tune “slaps”! Firing on all cylinders , this is the tune on this LP that was made for the dance floor . Especially after the second drop. There is a 4 to the floor kick and bass pattern that cranks up the vibe and will have everyone jumping around yelling “AAAAAAYYYYYYYEEEEE!!!!”

I just think we should squash it. The title is not just a random thought on this one. The intro builds up some warm key lines and a repetitive vocal harmony that kinda invites you in. Like your saying sorry. But then BAM, the drop comes and throws you into a kick drum tail spin. Combined with air risers and a dissonant xylophone line, this tune takes a depart from standards and brings pulsating circadian rhythms to the forefront . I really dig it when people can execute a drum based composition with very little snare. It shows that a person isn’t going playing to your expectations, and they are focused on giving you something unexpected.

Seven days of False Equivalence. This one is the black sheep of the record. The “Miss Jackson if you nasty” cut. Starts off very demure, with a funky Rhodes line, throws two beats of silence at you and then, JUST SLAPS THE CRONUT OUTCHO’ MOUTH!! Stays super dark, with a bubbling back drop. Super prevalent old school acid techno and dark step influences are very present. Getting you back to the og outboard hardware style of programming and processing. A really nice vocal sample drops in the second break down to cleanse the room. And then shit just goes straight nasty. Whatever bassline was chosen for this part of the tune, just obliterates all your senses. its like when you just get plowed by your homie in Mortal Kombat and then Scorpion throws a line at you neck telling you to “COME HERE!!!!”. The second half of the tune hits, brings you in, and then just ends, like “WHAT!” . Super styling

Oingo Boingo.  This is the perfect accompaniment to the last tune. A great way to keep the same momentum going forward, but nodding back to other elements in the album. I can say that this is a tutorial on how to run heavy subs on top of each other without it becoming redundant. keeping the beat in the realm of halftime and hip hop was a great way to let the other elements of composition comes through. The guitar line plays to the overall somber tone this piece displays. Then a haunting sample comes through to get inside your head and have you questioning many social decisions you have probably made recently. There are very present influences from Portishead and Saul Williams  with this tune. Leaving a somber tone, yet hopefully feelings

Planets to Go.  Coming off the backend of two very similar tunes, this one sets a new expectation. First off, if you do not hear the influence from 80’s sci-fi and slasher movies that were scored by the one John Carpenter , then you should go check it out. There is a bright focus on keys, synths, and harmonies driving the tone of this song. Like a living nightmare, or the feeling of actually living in the series Stranger Things. This one is short and sweet. Gets you from the start to the finish in just the right amount of time to meddle with your head, and slide you into the finish line of the LP, whilst not becoming predictable. 

This planet we must leave it.  The final movement to tie the whole album together. it finishes its rounding of the field with a nice and upbeat liquid dnb roller. Following the last tune, it stays within the realm of sci-fi elements and feeling. There is a constant synth riser that continues to push the air in and out of the entire piece. Which feels warm and soothing, but at the same time it adds mystery to what could come next. The drum work here is pretty straight forward, with some elements that drive everything forward and provide a steppy groove one can vibe on pretty easily. But the meat of this work goes into the heavily layered synths and ambient sounds which help you find the conclusion to the entire album. I feel like this was a great way to end this album because the journey comes full circle.

The Conclusion:

I can safely say that this album was an entire piece of work. You get something that was meticulously arranged in a way to convey a story, and the means to express a vision, whilst exhibiting great composition, and very maturely crafted songwriting. Elements of all things modern in dance music are present ( dnb/liquid/footwork/halftime/glitch), yet none of them seem to overpower, or “out do” another. Each song is meant to segway into the next, in a way that shows the ability to write with classical training. Creating an album that has a series of movements, instead of just songs slapped against each other, is something that i personally enjoy to hear.

I think this is a really good album that one could simply just listen to from start to finish, or take songs individually and throw them at an enthusiastic group of people on a dancefloor and set a new vibe. This shows the growth within Quentin Hiatus’s repertoire , and leads visions of the future to come from him and the Free Love Digi label.

**This album is currently available for purchase on all major outlets, or from the Free Love page right here..

https://freelovedigi.bandcamp.com/album/acceptance-l-p

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About Author

I am a dj/producer/professional drummer/event curator living in Phoenix, AZ. I've been in a passionate love affair with all things drum and bass since 1995. I've been curating dnb events since 2001, and currently operate Melt Drum and Bass. I've produced for Faction Digital, and Tactical Audio as well.