When was the last time that you came across a Quarion record? It was probably back in 2010 with »Moons Around Jupiter« and since then the producer went largely missing. Feeling that he had reached an artistic dead end, Quarion decided to take a step back from the scene in order to experiment with new ways of making music. It took almost 3 years but needless to say, it was worth the wait: »Shifts In the Environment« is an essential collection of superb tracks which celebrate House music in its various declinations. Although it still sounds unmistakably Quarion, one can’t help but notice a certain toughness in this new material as well as the will to break rules, making this EP a fascinating listening experience and a sure-shot 12″ for the dance floor!
If »Moons Around Jupiter« reached for the stars then »Digging For Water« is the homecoming on good old Earth. This dirty and groovy slice of House music begins as a vintage Quarion production with its funky beat, bubbling sub bass and strings. After a quick build-up, the track introduces a filtered chord sequence that grabs your attention straight away. The chords slowly unfold with subtle new harmonies until the break brings forth an exciting new bassline. But just when you thought that the tune is heading in an epic direction, it deceptively gets reduced to a pounding beat and a surprising Acid motif. The riff gets quickly infectious however, and while all the musical elements come back together piece by piece, the bassline carries »Digging For Water« to that epic moment you were promised earlier and all you can say is wooo!
Slowing things down a bit, »The Plump Shrew« is a straight-up Boogie jam. Bouncy drums lay the foundation for one of the nastiest bassline this side of Kreuzberg while a strange saloon piano drops in and out of the picture. An even weirder 5-note loop comes in as the track builds with more percussion to an exciting climax. You’re definitely hooked when fresh Juno stabs take center stage and make the tune just that little bit more juicy! A quirky synth melody moves a few times around the stereo spectrum and before you know it »The Plump Shrew« comes to an end. The fat mouse has got the cheese and is enjoying it very much, thank you!
The B-side is solely dedicated to »The Red Room«, an interdimensional portal which only appears to FBI agents with a craving for cherry pie. Or so it seems … Musically, it’s a tough, freaky and synth-heavy affair as Quarion pushes his studio to the limit and squeezes out every possible sound out of his analog gear. The track heads in multiple directions although a massive 2-note riff always keeps it grounded. A menacing drone creeps up from the background before being swept away by an hypnotizing synth riff and a hi-hat running wild. But as the sub bass kicks in, the drone gets more present and evolves into a daring motive, slowly consuming all the elements until a dramatic break-down where »The Red Room« seems to spin totally out of control. That is until the 2-note riff anchors you back to the floor and leads the track to its conclusion with a tight beat.
A1 – Digging For Water
A2 – The Plump Shrew
B1 – The Red Room
Release: June 19th 2013 (get it here)