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A Magazine for Sheffield

Best Of

I'm often wary of receiving Best Of compilations for review, especially If I am already a fan of the artist in question. If I like a musician or band, I prefer to listen to the records in full. With compilations, I find myself dipping in to their work without appreciating the real context. It is therefore with trepidation that I set out to listen to the 32 tracks which Tru Thoughts have selected for their forthcoming Best of Quantic record.

To date, Quantic's music spans 12 albums and numerous bands and to be fair to Tru Thoughts, a lot of effort has been made to select tracks from all of his various projects, as well as some of his more obscure work and his own productions, giving a good cross section of the musicman's work. The addition of three unreleased tunes may lure big fans into acquiring this release even though the remaining 29 tracks will probably be familiar to them. New listeners will no doubt be won over as well given the opportunity to sample Mr Will Holland's talents, incorporating soul, funk, reggae and trip hop into a very recognisable, vintage sound.

But I feel like Tru Thoughts are scraping the barrel a little by releasing this record. There is not really anything new to shout about - just a reminder of what has already happened and a retrospective slap on the back for the good things, all framed in a clear desire to keep cashing in on the Quantic back catalogue. This opinion is largely due to my own embittered feelings about the Best Of medium and less to do with a deep-seated annoyance at Quantic himself, who is undoubtedly one of the most important British funk and soul musicians of the last two decades and who - excuse my French - defecates on other claims to the title from a rather high vantage point (*cough* Mark Ronson *cough*).

If forced to put aside this criticism and discuss the music in more detail, I will concede that there are many pleasures on this record, particularly the poppy, danceable reggae numbers from The Combo Barbaro period, which layer Latin percussion over Jamaican drums and horn melodies. This has always been one of my favourite incarnations of the Quantic brand and remains so. I also loved listening to the voices of some of Quantic's famous collaborators such as Spanky Wilson, Kinny and Alice Russell, who have coloured the music with fantastic lyrics and vocal melodies over the years.

If Tru Thoughts' intention in releasing this was to remind me how much I like Quantic, I will somewhat begrudgingly accept that they have succeeded. I only wish that this revelation came along with a new Quantic record. Sigh.